Things To Know Before You Buy A House
A final walk-through is an opportunity to view the property before it becomes yours. This is your last chance to view the home, ask questions and address any outstanding issues before the house becomes your responsibility.
things to know before you buy a house
4. Think about commitment. I'm not talking just about your mortgage. When you get married, the laws of your state generally determine how your assets are treated - and ultimately how they're distributed at divorce. The same rules don't necessarily apply when you're not married. That means you need to think long term. When you buy a house with your significant other who is not your spouse, make sure you have an exit plan if things don't go the way you hope. It's a good idea to have an agreement in place with respect to titling, mortgage payments and liability, repairs and the like: it's best to get it in writing (and yes, I'd recommend getting a lawyer).
6. Buy the house you know that you can afford. This can be different from the price that your mortgage company believes that you can afford. When my husband and I bought our first house, we were approved for a mortgage of about three times more than we ultimately ended up spending. Fresh out of law school and working for established firms, our finances looked good on paper. But we dialed back our expectations because we weren't convinced that our income and expenses would remain at those levels. We were right: two years later, we started our own business just as the economy turned south. The less expensive house meant that we could still make our payments even with less income in pocket. So what's the best ratio to use? Some lenders suggest that you can afford mortgage payments totaling about 1/3 of your gross income but others suggest closer to 28% for housing related costs including mortgage, insurance and taxes. There are a number of factors including your projected income, interest rates, type of mortgage and the market. Ask your mortgage broker to help you understand what's in play.
Buying a house can take as little as a few days if you're buying in cash, or can take years if you're counting the amount of time it takes you to save money for a down payment and decide where to live. In a competitive housing market, you may put in multiple offers on homes before one is accepted. Conversely, mounting worry over a housing recession could lead more sellers to pull their homes from the market, making it more difficult to find a suitable property. If you already have your money saved and have a good idea of the neighborhoods and type of home you want, the process will probably take you two to six months. Ask a local real estate agent for a more accurate timeline based on your local market conditions.
To make sound decisions, you should know the pros and cons of a condo vs. a house. More buyers will end up disappointed when picking a condo because they do not understand the ramifications of how restrictive they can be or how quickly fees can change.
Understand you are not just buying a home but a location as well. One of the key considerations that many buyers miss when purchasing a home is knowing how to pick a neighborhood they will love. Often first-time buyers focus too much on the house and not enough on the area.
If you plan on doing any repair work yourself, it is crucial that you know of asbestos and take proper precautions if it is present. For obvious reasons, understanding if there is asbestos is something to know before buying a home.
About the Author: The above Real Estate information on the 20 things to do before buying a house was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of Metrowest towns for the last 37+ Years.
When it comes to renting, surprises don't require much emotional investment. The rent goes up? You can move. The fridge is on the fritz? The landlord will send someone over. Home ownership is a bit more hands-on. If the toilet breaks, it's time to start reading Yelp reviews. And if property taxes unexpectedly rise, it's on you to appeal or pay up."My homeowners association fee doubled in the first year I owned my condominium," says Celmins. "Then my real estate taxes were reassessed. My mortgage payment went up and I panicked. I didn't even know that could happen."Of course, having the financial flexibility to cover those unexpected things is important, but don't overlook the importance of having the mental and emotional capability of dealing with them responsibly when they arise. Everything could be peachy for months, and then three maintenance issues might spring up in the same week. Stress management and problem solving skills are home ownership biggies.
Before shopping for a piece of land, you should develop a general idea of where you'd like to make a purchase. You can go for an exploratory drive and use online resources to help you. For example, if you're buying a few acres of land to build a house you'll likely want to consider things like access to schools, your job, grocery shopping and restaurants. (Later we'll delve into specific land concerns.)
Finally, remember that utilities and building costs will be expensive. In some cases, you may have to pay to have electricity and water run to your house before you even begin monthly service fees. On some land, you'll have to drill a well or install a septic system before home construction. If you're buying a piece of land as an investment, you'll bypass quite a few of those headaches.
Land destined to be built on or sold is typically carved up into smaller parcels that make up subdivisions. The land in a subdivision likely already has some restrictions placed upon it that you'll want to know about before buying. If the vacant lot you're eying is in the middle of an already developed community, chances are good that a homeowner's association governs that area. Homeowner's associations command membership fees and set the rules for behavior and decorum in the area. Following their rules could dictate how frequently you cut your grass, where you park your car or even what kind of pets you have [source: Christensen].
More important, however, is the issue of access. A public road obviously guarantees a route to a vacant lot at all times. But when private roads enter into the equation, things get complicated. If your property is landlocked, the typical solution is to make an arrangement with a neighbor for guaranteed access via a private road through their land, known as an easement. We'll discuss this next.
In most cases, it's smart to consult a real estate lawyer when negotiating an easement. Even if you get along well with your neighbor, drawing up official documentation will allow you to lay out the terms of the agreement and protect yourself from liability [source: Schleiffarth]. If your neighbor isn't too agreeable about negotiating an easement, things can get tricky. You may be able to sue to establish a "way of necessity," meaning you'll have to prove in court that you require an easement on a neighbor's property for access. You may also be able to sue for an easement based on prior use, if it's clear that the previous owners had access to a neighbor's property before you purchased the land [source: VacantLandInfo]. If there's any legal involvement, be smart and hire a real estate lawyer.
Once you've safely determined that your future house won't be underwater the next time a big storm blows through, there's only one last hurdle to crest before you're ready to own a brand new piece of property: bureaucracy.
It's a sad fact of real estate life: Just about everything you build is going to require a building permit. You'll have to deal with government zoning before starting construction, and obtain permits for building, permits for burning, and permits for, well, the list goes on and on. Yes, it's a hassle, but permits aren't necessarily bad news. After all, remember that restrictive covenants protect you from the nasty habits of your neighbors even as they restrict you. Construction permits help protect the land and keep you honest to building codes, and those building codes ensure you can't haphazardly build a structure that's going to collapse on itself like a house of cards.
Before meeting with a mortgage lender, use an online mortgage affordability calculator to estimate how much house you can afford. Once you know what your home purchase price range will be, you can then gauge how much to save for your down payment and closing costs.
Only you can decide which property is right for you. Make sure you see plenty of homes before you decide which one you want to make an offer on. Like much of the home buying process, you can do a great deal of your house hunting online.
Buying a house is an exciting time, to be sure. In all that excitement, some things may fall through the cracks, and you may not remember what to do before you get down to the business of actually buying the house.
Most houses have hairline cracks, which simply indicate that the house is settling as it ages, but large gaps signal a bigger issue with the house foundation, says Gamble. Other tipoffs: sticking doors or windows, visible cracks above window frames, and sloping floors. How do you know if the floors are uneven? Bring a marble or golf ball in your pocket and when you have the chance, set it on the floor and see if it rolls.
Another one of the most important things to look for when buying a house? Take a second to pull back the curtains to check for lopsided frames, and then give the windows a try. Open a few up, to make sure they slide easily. Windows that get jammed in the frames could be a sign of foundation issues, as noted above, or just poor installation.
You don't have to pay cash for a rental property. If you qualify for a mortgage and have at least 20% cash to put down on a home you'll be using for rental income, you can own a rental property while making payments on it."}},"@type": "Question","name": "Will I pay tax on the rental income I own?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "You will pay federal tax on rental income and report it just as you report other income on your income tax return. There are currently nine states that don't have an income tax, and therefore you wouldn't pay tax on rental income there: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.","@type": "Question","name": "Can I use my primary home for a rental property?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "In most cases you can turn the home you're living in now into a rental property, but you'll need to check a few things first. Check with your mortgage company to see what, if any, restrictions it has. For some home loans, you must live in the home full time for at least a year before you rent it out. Check with your homeowner's association, if you have one, to make sure it's not against the rules to turn your home into a rental."]}]}] .cls-1fill:#999.cls-6fill:#6d6e71 Skip to contentThe BalanceSearchSearchPlease fill out this field.SearchSearchPlease fill out this field.BudgetingBudgeting Budgeting Calculator Financial Planning Managing Your Debt Best Budgeting Apps View All InvestingInvesting Find an Advisor Stocks Retirement Planning Cryptocurrency Best Online Stock Brokers Best Investment Apps View All MortgagesMortgages Homeowner Guide First-Time Homebuyers Home Financing Managing Your Loan Mortgage Refinancing Using Your Home Equity Today's Mortgage Rates View All EconomicsEconomics US Economy Economic Terms Unemployment Fiscal Policy Monetary Policy View All BankingBanking Banking Basics Compound Interest Calculator Best Savings Account Interest Rates Best CD Rates Best Banks for Checking Accounts Best Personal Loans Best Auto Loan Rates View All Small BusinessSmall Business Entrepreneurship Business Banking Business Financing Business Taxes Business Tools Becoming an Owner Operations & Success View All Career PlanningCareer Planning Finding a Job Getting a Raise Work Benefits Top Jobs Cover Letters Resumes View All MoreMore Credit Cards Insurance Taxes Credit Reports & Scores Loans Personal Stories About UsAbout Us The Balance Financial Review Board Diversity & Inclusion Pledge View All Follow Us
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