New Year, New Home, New You
Use These 6 Tips to Buy a New Home in the New Year.
Most of us make resolutions in the New Year. Some of us hope to lose weight. Others will make it a goal to exercise more often. But perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to buy a new home! If this is the case, we have a checklist to help you get the home of your dreams.
1) Figure Out Your Finances
One of the first things you need to do is figure out how much money you have available to purchase a new home. Start by calculating how much cash you have available for a down payment. You will also need funds to pay for things like closing costs and taxes once the sale on your new home is finalized. Then figure out how much money you can budget each month for a mortgage payment, property taxes, and insurance. All of this information will give you a rough estimate of your buying power.
2) Choose A Mortgage Program
There are numerous types of mortgages available. Some of these programs offer extra help to first time buyers or those who meet certain financial qualifications. Choose one that fits your particular situation by doing some research ahead of time. One good option for those living in Texas is TxHomePrograms.org. (See page 16 for more on different types of mortgages available).
3) Complete A Mortgage Application
The next step is to complete a pre-approval application with a mortgage provider. The lender will review your financial information to calculate how much money you can actually borrow. Take this information with you as you shop for a new home to avoid falling in love with a property you cannot afford.
4) Be Strategic About Upgrade Choices
When building a new home, your contractor may offer you additional features such as upgraded appliances or premium flooring options. As you consider your choices, be sure to select those that will add value to your home for many years to come. Sometimes choosing upgrades that cost more – such as hardwood floors – will actually save you in the long run because they wear less over time. Be strategic and you’ll boost your resale value, too.
5) Look For A Good Community
The neighborhood you choose is just as important as your physical house. Ask yourself these questions about the community:
- Are there Homeowner Association costs and what do they cover? Can you afford these additional expenses?
- Are there extras within the community, such as fitness facilities and parks?
- Are the lot sizes large enough for you?
- Are there schools, shopping areas, and medical facilities in the area?
6) Find A Home Builder That Builds Better Than Code
Every homebuilder in our state must follow minimum building code standards. These minimum codes are mandated by the state, but that doesn’t mean your home was built to these basic code standards even though they are law. The only guarantee that your home was built according to the law is to look for a home certified as an “above-code” home, like with a BUILT TO SAVE™ certified home. Builders who certify their homes as BUILT TO SAVE™ have their homes inspected and tested by a third-party rater who guarantees that the homes are constructed to superior standards over and above what is required by law, and will outperform a similar home built to minimum code. The best reward with the BUILT TO SAVE™ certification is the peace of mind knowing that someone has your back and that you are indeed getting a great home! (Go to BuiltToSave.org for a list of builders participating in the BUILT TO SAVE™ program).
Use these six tips to set a path to buying a new home in the New Year. Once your offer to purchase has been accepted, don’t forget to get your home inspected by a professional. This will ensure you’re making a sound investment in the year(s) to come.
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