Click on any of the questions below to find answers.
Before you get emotionally attached to a beautiful new house, check your monthly budget to determine how much house you can afford. You need to leave room in your budget for other things, so make sure your monthly housing costs (including HOA fees, taxes, insurance, etc.) are going to be no more than 25% of your monthly take-home pay.
Visit as many open houses as you can, because you may assume you’ll buy a single-family home, and that could be ideal if you want a big yard or a lot of room. But if you’re willing to sacrifice space for less maintenance and extra amenities, and you don’t mind paying a homeowners association fee, a condo or townhouse could be a better fit. But even if the home is right, the neighborhood could be all wrong. So be sure to: Research nearby schools, even if you don’t have kids, since they affect home value. Look at local safety and crime statistics. Map the nearest hospital, pharmacy, grocery store and other amenities you’ll use. Drive through the neighborhood on various days and at different times to check out traffic, noise and activity levels.
Once a seller accepts your offer, the closing process will begin. Keep things running smoothly by knowing what to expect when closing on a house. The average closing process takes 41 days, which gives you plenty of time to tackle closing items. A real estate agent will schedule the remaining steps, from home inspection to final walkthrough, and keep you informed about any road blocks. As you prepare for closing, make sure you read every document and ask your real estate agent to explain anything you don’t understand—especially before you sign the official contract for the home transaction. It’ll be your signature on the documents, so you’ll be the one responsible for anything you sign.