Choosing the right home as a first time buyer can be an emotional roller coaster ride, especially when these new buyers realize they may be making mortgage payments for decades to come on the home they eventually choose. In an effort to minimize the amount of that monthly mortgage payment, buyers sometimes make the mistake of choosing their first home based solely on price.
While it is important to make sure the mortgage payment is affordable, first time home buyers should also strive to find a home that offers other important values on top of an affordable cost that will ensure that they will actually enjoy living there for years to come.
Look for the Value of Convenience
Time is a critical issue in the lives of most people, especially in households that have to juggle work with caring for dependents and taking care of the home. Since maximizing time is so very important, make sure that your home search considers the convenience factor while viewing homes.
First time buyers should ask themselves if each home is in a convenient location for work, school, shopping, healthcare, and other basic needs they may have. In addition, make sure to also consider the layout of each home and the way it is situated on its lot to make sure that living in the home will also be convenient and enjoyable for each member of the household if more than the buyer will be living there.
Some good examples of the value of convenience include:
- choosing one level homes if having stairs/a second level would make accessibility difficult for anyone in the household
- choosing a home with room for a home office if someone will be working from home
- choosing a home with a large kitchen for those that enjoy preparing and having meals with multiple people
- choosing a home with a large, fenced yard if pets or children will be present at any time
Understand Potential Resale Value
Another point to consider when purchasing a first home is the potential resale value the home will offer in the future. According to recent statistics, Americans typically move more than 11 times in their lives, making it very likely that first time home buyers will be selling their home and moving on to buy others in the future. This means that it is very important to consider potential resale value when purchasing homes.
To make sure that the first home you purchase will offer good resale value when it is time for you to sell, make sure that it:
- is well-located in an area where home values are trending upward, instead of downward
- is not over-improved for the area in which it is located
- is designed to be easy to maintain, inside and out
Determine the Total Cost of Ownership
Another factor to consider when purchasing your first home is the total cost of ownership for each home being considered. To determine the total cost of ownership, buyers should identify and consider the following figures:
- the mortgage interest rate they will pay
- the price of any repairs or renovations the home requires
- the annual property tax amount
- the average cost of monthly utilities, including heating, cooling, electricity, water, sewer, and trash service
- any HOA dues, condo fees, or other miscellaneous fees or charges that apply
Homes that are low in price, but need expensive repairs or have unusually high utility costs or property taxes can make living in them financially uncomfortable. Buyers can turn to their real estate professional for assistance in obtaining information about past utility averages and other costs associated with the home. In addition, an experienced real estate professional can provide expert guidance in helping first time buyers find the best overall value to ensure their transaction is a pleasant one.
Choosing the right home is different for everyone. A home's price should certainly be considered when weighing your options, but it can be helpful to look to the future to see what other costs your first home will have, monetary or other.