I've mentioned in several recent blog posts what a believer I am in buying a home, so long as it is the right financial decision for your family. In today's post, I'd like to explore the topic deeper by providing a few tips to stay on budget when house shopping.
When we are buying a new home we can often have "rose colored glasses" and our buying decisions can be filtered through these lenses. I'm no exception; when I looked for a new home, it was tricky for me to stay on budget when shopping. If you begin looking at higher and higher home prices than what you are comfortable with, it can be very easy to overspend. Here are three tips to stay on budget when shopping for a home:
- Pick a number, and stick to it: I would suggest working with a Real Estate Agent to find the right-priced home for your budget, based on your income and desired location to live. From there, work with a Loan Officer to determine the loan program and size of loan right for you, commit to the number (price) of a home you'd like to buy, and don't deviate from it unless absolutely necessary. Committing to a number ahead of shopping for a home can keep your budget on track.
- Be patient: In today's housing market, homes that are priced right and in good locations tend to sell fast. In Lexington, this feels especially true with a "hot" rating from Zillow. Buying a home under any market condition takes patience, but even more patience is needed when homes sell fast with multiple offers. You may have a pull to look at a higher priced homes that are immediately available, but I'd recommend being as patient as possible with the lower number you decided on. In time and with patience, you will find the right home for you and your budget.
- Taxes, mortgage insurance and hazard insurance: When shopping for a home, it is common to take the price you'd like and use an online mortgage calculator to determine the monthly payment. These calculators often do not include property taxes, mortgage insurance (if your down payment is under 20%) and hazard insurance on your property. Factor in these expenses to the monthly payment ahead of time so you are ready when it is time to write an offer. Work with your Loan Officer and Real Estate Agent to find estimates on these numbers.
Many factors play into buying a new home, so be sure to have a great Real Estate Agent & Loan Officer in your corner, to help the process be as smooth as possible. Enjoy the process as much as possible, knowing that a great home for you and your family will eventually come on the market for sale.