New Year, New Home: A Homebuying Checklist for 2023
The New Year is an excellent time for a new adventure—like buying a new home. But just like any New Year’s resolution, like losing weight or taking up a new hobby, it’s always best to plan ahead. Purchasing a home may sound like a complex ordeal, but with some preparation, you can significantly lower excess stress. Here’s a handy checklist to help you comfortably move into your dream home in 2023.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
Make sure to set a budget before you start speaking to contractors or drafting floor plans. Review your finances, compare different loan options, and, most importantly, seek approval from a lender that matches your needs. Knowing the amount you’re eligible for will spare you disappointment and enable you to focus your energy on the homes you can afford. Lastly, taking this initiative also shows builders that you’re serious.
2. Set a Realistic Budget
Your homebuying budget should include more than your loan. Consider your monthly income and calculate how much you’ll be spending on monthly payments, including costs associated with homeownership, such as taxes, maintenance, and mortgage payments. Factor in other living costs, such as utilities, groceries, and car payments.
Keep in mind that you may qualify for a financial assistance program; these can help you with your down payment. Some will even provide you with mortgage tax credits. Although plenty of programs are available, many homebuyers don’t realize they may be eligible for such assistance. Do a bit of research to see if you qualify.
3. Build Above Minimum Code Standards
It’s good to aim above minimum code standards when building a custom home. Durable, high-performance homes require less maintenance than their minimum-code counterparts. Consider working with a builder who’s a member of a high-performance home program, like BUILT TO SAVE®. These builders put superior construction and energy efficiency first, ensuring you’ll enjoy lower utility bills, healthier indoor air, and a comfortable living environment.
4. Choose the right community
You’re not going to feel comfortable in the world’s most lavish home if its location doesn’t satisfy you. Visit communities you’re interested in and, if possible, chat with the locals. Some things you should consider when selecting a community include:
- Lot size
- Proximity to schools, hospitals, businesses, etc.
- Amenities, such as pools, parks, and community centers
- Homeowner association costs
- Proximity to major roads
5. Be Strategic About Upgrades
When building a new home, you may be offered additional features, such as upgraded appliances or premium flooring options. As you consider your choices, select only the upgrades that will add resale value to your home. It’s not uncommon for expensive upgrades—such as hardwood or natural stone floors—to save you money in the long run, as they’re more durable and add value to your home. As long as you approach your options strategically, you will boost your home’s style and comfort and its resale value, too.
5. Hire an Independent Home Inspector
It’s always good to have an independent pair of eyes inspect your new home before you move in. If you opt for BUILT TO SAVE® or another high-performance certification, a licensed third-party home inspector checks your home to verify it complies with the program’s strict requirements. Homes in the BUILT TO SAVE® program are inspected during construction and tested after completion to document and provide proof that they are high-performance homes.
Once you’ve ticked off all the boxes on its checklist, you can buy your home with confidence and peace of mind, knowing it will be built to the highest quality and energy efficiency standards.
So, what’s stopping you? Make 2023 the year you buy the home of your dreams.
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