5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Home

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This is a sponsored post about things you need to know before buying a home. Opinions, as always, are my own. The following is a list of 5 things that I feel are very important to know before purchasing a home, regardless of where you live.

1. What are you looking for? This may seem like a really easy one, but often, when making that list of needs/requirements, you may find that some of the things you want or need will surprise you.  For us, 2 bathrooms was a must in our second home.  With our first? It didn’t matter so much, because it was just the two of us.  Or so we thought.

2. What amount will the bank approve you for?  This number is kind of key.  I would recommend getting your financial ducks in a row as much as you are able to before you go to the bank for pre-approval.  BUT…before you start doing cartwheels at the number you are preapproved for, please, PLEASE know #3, listed below.

3. Know your monthly income AND your monthly expenses.  The number you get preapproved for does NOT factor in your expenses, and what living costs.  For example, you may be approved for a $400,000 loan based on your income, but when you factor in utilities, food, gas, car payments, auto insurance, homeowners insurance.  That $400,000 seems like a lot heftier price tag when you remove your living expenses from your income.  It often IS a huge price tag and, in my opinion, why so very many people in our country are so house poor.  If your household monthly income is $2700, and your mortgage will cost $2350, are you going to be able to cover the utilities, taxes, insurance, food, gas, clothes, etc, that you need to live on top of that?  Not likely.

My best advice to you is to sit down with your income and expenses as they are now, figure out what they are, and figure out a number you can comfortably pay for your mortgage THAT way.  Once you know that, plus whatever money you are putting down on a home, you can have a better feel of what price range to start your house hunting in.    Just because the bank says you can afford something doesn’t mean you really can.

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4. Get an inspection.  I can’t say this enough.  When you do find that home you want to make an offer on, get the inspection. Use someone licensed. Make sure the roof can withstand heavy snows like ours does.

5. Research the area you want to move to.  What’s the current mill rate in the town or city?  What kind of services are included with your tax payments in town?  If trash pickup isn’t offered by your town, you may very well have to factor those costs in to your budget. If you have children and the schools aren’t what you want for them, paying tuition for private school is also going to affect your budget.

Do your homework.  Articles like this about having emergency savings one can further help you with your research before you start the home buying process- many experts feel that having 6 months of bills in savings is key and we happen to agree with that school of thought.  It’s like an emergency safety net.

There are many resources available to help you find out about mortgage insurance options- Genworth financial has a very comprehensive section about purchasing mortgage insurance. You may find this article about planning your first move to be helpful if you are a first time buyer.

What are your home buying tips? 

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About the author: I’m a 30-something mom to three, brand ambassador. content creator, social media maven, blogger extraordinaire, earth lover, butcher, baker, candlestick maker (or something along those lines) – love word games, crafting, cake decorating or shooting pictures.

40 comments… add one

  • I think you need a inspection but I know their espensive

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  • In D.C., five or so years ago, things were so competitive that the only way you could buy a house was to promise NO inspection. Scary, but it was that much of a sellers’ market. I just bought my first condo, and I did get an inspection but the Home Owners Association… *sigh

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  • I lost my house clearly because I couldn’t afford it. I could’ve used this advice!!

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  • When we bought our house 28 years ago, we did not get an inspection. We were young and no one suggested this to us. BIG MISTAKE!!! Always, get an inspection. And, if anyone suggests otherwise, run in the other direction.

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  • Some very good advice on buying a home — we are still in the “saving our pennies” stage before we make our big buy — thanks!

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  • Thank you for the very insightful post.

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  • great tips. always try to have a slush fund because unexpected expenses always come up

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  • Great information everyone should think about before buying a home. A home purchase can be stressful so the more information you have to ease you through the process the better

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  • I think it crazy that many lenders won’t lend for mobile homes, despite that the mobile home is older and not mobile anymore. That is about all I could afford but can’t find a lender.

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  • Great key points! Also, find out your yearly taxes to be paid and figure this amount into your monthly budget so it won’t hit you hard at the end of the year.

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  • Super advice for the homebuyer. There are ALWAYS unexpected expenses when you own a home so keep this in mind!

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  • These are such responsible tips, wish I would have had them with my first condo purchase. Thanks for your research.

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  • Great tips, I recommend getting pre approved first, not only will it tell you how much of a house you can afford but if you do find a house you love and another buyer has put in an offer on the same house the seller will know that you have already been preapproved which will give you an advantage.

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  • This is great advice. We’re renting now and will be moving at the end of our lease next year. There’s a slim chance we might be looking to buy a home rather than rent again. I’ve bookmarked this post to read again when the time gets closer. Thanks.

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  • Very good tips Brett and I certainly agree with you about the inspection. Years ago, when we purchased a home, we never got one and whenever we saw the basement, there was no lights but it was freshly painted and all. We learned after buying, it flooded all the time so the first time, we lost a lot of things due to flooding. So important to make this point.

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  • These are some excellent tips! I am definitely going to keep this in mind whenever we decide to stop renting and own our own home. Thanks for sharing.

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  • It is so important to make sure that when buying a house that you know how much the costs are going to be becasue sometimes there are hidden costs, and a person can get into hot water. Make sure to know how the homeowners insurance and house taxes will be paid. Is this included in the house payment. Also you must get a home inspection-the house you love could be in worse condition then it looks like!!

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  • Great tips. Hubby and I have been thinking about buying a new home in the near future and now these tips will come in handy.

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  • Excellent tips, one thing we did was look a a ton of houses. See as many as you can.

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  • yes inspection inspection inspection!! very important

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  • I agree with getting the inspection done for sure. When I bought my house I’m living in now, I was told many things about the house that was not true. Those realtor’s tell a bunch of lies just to sell the house.

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  • My son is in the process of buying his first home and I am so glad that he has followed all of these tips. Thankfully he has not gotten too old to ask us for our advice either. It is a really big decision and one that you don’t want to ever regret.

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  • VERY IMPORTANT!: Just because the bank says you can afford something doesn’t mean you really can. YOU have to figure out what you can afford

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  • I like #3-we always say we when we bought a home we want to have enough money to go get a hamburger if we want it!

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  • Thanks for sharing! Will come in handy when I am ready to buy!

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  • I cannot stress enough your point about know what you can afford. AND don’t forget to factor in costs like yard upkeep and any repairs you might want/need to do. Visit a local hardware store and notice how EXPENSIVE parts and things are! A simple replacement of the locks on the doors can run into hundreds of dollars! just price everything out.
    Great tips!

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  • Inspections are crucial and so is budget! Great tips.

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  • Great pointers. There is so much to consider when buying a new home,it can be so overwhelming!

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  • That line about “just because the bank says you can afford it doesn’t mean you can” is the best advice ever! We bought way, way below our approved mortgage amount and I’m so glad we did. Now that I’ve quit my job, I can’t imagine having the mortgage they would have given us! Those huge payments really do limit your freedom for many years. Thanks for the great tips, Brett!

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  • Hopefully we are past our home buying days and in the house we will be in for quite a while. But these are definitely great tips to make things go a bit smoother!

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  • We’re close to making the decision on either building up on our home or purchasing a new one. If we go with the later I’ll be happy that I bookmarked this post!

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  • Great points! I wasn’t able to get an inspection when I bought my first home and wish I would have!

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  • the inspection is SO SO SO important–can not stress that enough–when I was in the buyers market a number of years ago–we went through 6 inspections before finding the right house–well worth the $$ spent!! great advice

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  • We’re in the beginning stages of hunting for a home and I’m already budgeting for more than 1 inspection. Chances are – it may take a few inspections before we find a house that’s in great condition.
    I’ve owned a condo before, but this will be my husband’s first time owning a home.
    We need something in tip top condition so we’re not shelling out a lot of home repair costs as soon as we move in.

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    • Good luck on the search Joyce!

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  • I couldn’t agree more on getting an inspection. It’s so important to make sure there are no large issues that you can’t see or didn’t think to look for.

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  • Great tips, I love #3 and #4 – just because the bank approves you for a certain amount, doesn’t mean you can afford that amount. You have to know your expenses – it’s really so important.

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  • Those are good tips. We have definitely always tried to not be home poor. I’d rather have a smaller home than have no indoor plumbing. :)

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  • These are great tips that I agree with in retrospect. Now I just need tips on how to sell our old house that we moved out of. It has been on the market for over a year and I could cry!

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    • oh no!! that’s no fun. have you talked to a new realtor about your old house? can you rent it?

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