[Life Series] Before You Buy A New Home, Four Things You Must Know

Getting the home of your dreams is one great choice you have to make. But with the current property market conditions, there are some things you need to consider in your purchase, along with some tips that apply to any purchase decision for a new home.

Your Finances

Knowing the limits of your finances is the first step to making a sound investment. Marshal your financial muscle to come up with a sufficient deposit for the property to lower your mortgage amortization. In addition, obtaining a mortgage may be difficult these days what with the credit crunch and banks setting up high acceptance criteria to release a mortgage.

If you have the savings to take care deposing a substantial percentage of the property cost, say from 30% to 50%, you stand a good chance of getting your mortgage approved these days.

The typical mortgage loans are based on 3 times your main annual gross income plus 1.5 times a secondary income source if you have one. Married couples enjoy 2.5 times their joint income.

Know the House you Want but keep an Open Mind

Knowing how your dream house should look like helps to define what you’d be looking for but that’s just a guide. Unless you have the finances to build one from scratch exactly as you envision it to be, you can be more realistic and get one closest to your dream house from the many fine homes and real estate projects already available for the picking. You only need to get your mortgage in order to move in.

Just don’t over indulge in your first home. But keep an open mind as your agent or broker showcases the property inventories within your budget. Lowering your expectations can get you far with today’s realities but sometimes, you might get some surprise with really good bargains on houses that can be better than what you have in mind.

Viewing your Options

Whichever house you choose, you need to have a site visit. Better yet, have a shortlist of 3-4 properties to visit. Your real estate agent knows the routine and will in fact prompt you to join a tour of any of the property in his inventory. It’s what they do best and clinching a sale often happens in tours that impress their clients.

With a scheduled visit to your shortlisted properties, make the most of your time by learning what you can about the place. Here are some things you should do.

Get a feel of the neighborhood. Buying as home comes with the community it is set in and living with neighbors you like is part of the reason you want to go home at the end of the day. Talk to one or two you may meet during the visit and ask questions about the property you’re getting. You can also gauge their friendliness that way.

The site visit is often meant to impress you with the façade and all things visible about the property. But do check a little deeper. Operate the bathroom and kitchen faucet, turn on the lights, check the wiring, phone line, etc. You may have to ask a friend who is a home builder to accompany you in the tour to check them if you’re not familiar.

Taking the Plunge

Real estate agents would love to get your decision after the tour. But unless it’s the last property item on your short list and is the most impressive, defer your decision. You can enter into a negotiation in price at around this time as well if the property is the one closest to your heart. You can even take a second tour if you have to and your agent won’t mind. As your investment of a lifetime, spend the time to weigh your options before taking the plunge. Once you do, your agent can take care of the rest. You only need to hand over the initial deposit and you can move in.

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