Owning a home is a huge step up from renting. Signing a lease is no guarantee that you will have a place to stay, nor a guarantee that your rent won’t go up. When renting, you are not creating equity. However, you also have no maintenance to perform and you can call the landlord for any issues.
When owning a home, you need to have a firm idea as to where you want to live, the neighborhood you want to live in, the size and condition of the home, and how long you want to live there. Statistically, people live in their home for around 7 years, but many people purchase once and live there forever. As a homeowner, you are responsible for all maintenance and repairs. Some people find this entire process overwhelming.
When talking to people who want to become homeowners, I tend to frame it this way…. what are your 5— and 10—year plans? For some, their first home is a starter home because of the size of their family—they plan to move into greater space as they grow. For others, they can live in a fixer-upper and have the patience to stay while remodeling it, thereby improving its value. And then there are the people who buy the home they’ve dreamed of, in the city, with their land, and in the condition they desire.
Similar to remodeling, there are steps you need to consider when looking for a home. They include:
· Getting pre-qualified by a lender before starting the hunt for a home. This is very important step that most people forget. If you are not pre-qualified, how much can you borrow from the lending institution? How much time will you lose if you don’t know this answer and have to go through the tedious loan process? Your dream home can slip away to people already qualified to purchase.
· If you are looking for a home that needs work, having a licensed builder you trust ready to work with you once the purchase complete is a great idea. All contractors are currently very busy and some are no longer taking new projects for 2018. This is especially true with electricians and plumbers. Having a conversation with these professionals to let them know what you are planning is a great idea.
· Have a clear idea as to what you are looking for. For some people, stairs are an issue, they want a ranch home to age in to. For others with a growing family, they need bedrooms and schools close by. Write yourself a list and use it while you shop.
Starting May 3, I am teaching a comprehensive class on this topic with Middy Mathews (a Realtor with Howard Hanna) at Washtenaw Community College. We will talk about how to focus your search, what to look for in a home, why a home inspection is necessary, what is requested to secure a loan, plus take a field trip to a home for sale to apply the real-world lessons learned. More information can be found at http://www.wccnet.edu/
I look forward to seeing you in this class!