Decisions to make when purchasing a home.

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One of our first decisions we made when purchasing our first home was to seek out a “handyman special” because we knew it would allow us to have more home for our money, and live in the area we wanted to live in.  The home we moved into was in a fantastic location and worked in so many ways for us.  It was a wonderful starter home- once we had some issues fixed. From issues in the basement right on up to re-pointing the chimney, we did it all- ourselves- right out of our own pockets.  The critical things we took care of right away, the more cosmetic issues we waited until we had funds for.  I suppose that’s really the second decision- the first was what area we wanted to look in!

mortgage trends

After the decision to search for homes that needed work, we had to go ahead and decide how much money we were willing to spend for a mortgage payment each month.  This is something that’s very personal- and I would not ever tell you what to do, but I will say to look very carefully at your financial situation when you are given that amount of house you can “afford.”  For us, we were told that we could afford a house more than triple what we felt we could afford- and that was with both of us working full time….and no children.  We sat down and factored in what our utilities might be on a house that size, and also what the property taxes would be (in Connecticut, they are high!) Once we knew what we could afford, we started looking around in our target areas- and quickly realized that to be able to afford the home and be able to have the cash to fix things, we were going to have to rethink how much we’d be placing as a down payment.  For us, what the bank said we could afford and what the reality of our budget was were very, very far apart.  Sure, we could have afforded that number the bank gave us- but we’d not have any money to pay for food, nor utilities, nor gas for our vehicles, let alone property taxes.  We opted to go with a number that WE felt we could live within based on what our budget and expenses were each month.


When you buy your first home, regardless of size, location, or price, many people decide or have to purchase mortgage insurance.  There are reasons for purchasing this insurance, and it is meant to offer a financial guarantee the lender should the buyer default on the loan- it will help to decrease or eliminate the loss for the lender altogether. It kind of makes things more “even” on the risk scale for the borrower and the lender. For many first time home buyers, private mortgage insurance is almost always required if you are putting down less than 20% of the mortgage.  For us, mortgage insurance was a way to ensure that we COULD get into our first home, and also have the funds available to do necessary renovations- we were buying a fixer-upper that ultimately we had to “gut” and had we put that entire 20% or more down and not done the mortgage insurance, we’d have had to end up taking out a second mortgage or a homeowner’s loan, neither of which we wanted to do. 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. This article about planning your first move may be helpful to you as you start this journey.

What are some of the things that you look for when purchasing a home?  Be sure to also read the post about what made us decide to purchase life insurance policies

 

 

This is a supported post with information provided by Genworth Financial. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

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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.

442 comments… add one

  • I am a renter and would love to own a home someday so this information was very helpful. Congrats on the purchase of your new home.

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  • As they say, “location,location,location!

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  • Good starting points to consider if you do want a house. I’m quite happy renting, as it is within our budget, excellent location when my boys were in school and we do love our neighbors. We are caretakers in our building and receive a credit off of our rent. This makes it more affordable than purchasing a home (or condo). There are so many housing options available: rent, buy, trade, trailer parks, condos. Do what works for your budget.

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  • Thank you for the info! always helpful.

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  • It is a must to look into everything when purchasing a home today. There are hidden costs that can add up. Make sure to know exactly how much the mortgage is and all the other bills that you have to pay each month, or a person will default if they go over! My sister did not investigate enough and lost her home!

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  • we bought a fixer upper 12 years ago to fix and flip, hah still not done.

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  • We purchased our house almost five years ago and everything is working out so far. It was a fixer upper too.

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  • I had to take cost and time into consideration when buying this house (sold the old house in 13 days and had to get out ASAP and I was 8 1/2 months pregnant.) I wish I had spent more time looking for neighborhoods with pools (we live in the south) and one with lots of kids in the neighborhood.

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  • I have never bought a house, but location would be important as well as safety.

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  • thanks so much for the great info i will pass it to my sister she is buying a home now

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  • our first house was a pre fab custom designed to our liking. saved a lot of money going this way and the house was beautiful

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  • These are some good tips. I would want a safe neighborhood or area with maybe some land for the kids to play with good school districts.

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  • I look at the neighborhood and the school district mostly. I can adjust to a lot of living circumstances, so I am flexible as to whether we buy a home to fix-up or a newer home, but my kid’s whole life depends on the people in the neighborhood and their education- so that’s my biggest focus when buying a home,

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  • Awesome information, thank you for this.

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  • Thanks! We are just starting this process!

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  • i was in the running to buy my own place….i was a single mom at the time of 4 kids and i found the best place in the area and size and price and i got beat out :( i guess for the best cuz the company i worked for went under and i lost my job…..there went my credit shot in the ass again after working so hard to get it back up there!! but i am back to work….working on the score once again to get the owning my own home!!!! i hate renting :( so expensive……

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  • We wanted a HUGE huge kitchen and lots of bedrooms, we had 6 kids… and NOW, we are ready for the small retirement home! But I still want a huge kitchen!

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  • Very good information to know, location is a main factor I believe.

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  • Great tips, particularly about planning for the future. So many of my firends found themselves stuck when they decided to expand their families and couldn’t upsize…

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  • Location is very important when buying a house ,makes a big difference for our kids also.

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  • I’m guessing it was a few years ago that you went through the process? In case you’ve been missing out on current events the last few years, banks have had to get a little more realistic with their lending of late. :)

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  • I would look for location, definitely, as a first priority!

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  • Thank you for all the great tips. I want to buy a house one day.

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  • That’s good advice 31 years later, I’m still here.

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  • the location is one of the most important things for me

    thanks for sharing!

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  • We are actually in the market for a new house. We bought our first house and made way too many mistakes and lost a lot of money. Now we are trying to get the right this time around. Your tips are all very true

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  • Location is very important. Thanks so much for all the tips.

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  • If you have kids location is always important. When we were looking at houses, I thought about the school district, how far the school was, if there were kids in the neighborhood, how busy the street was. I also a yard. I wanted a big yard.

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  • Thank you for the info that I can use. :)

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  • good price and location of good schools and check out the crime rate

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  • The location of a house is very important to families.

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  • Our first priority in purchasing our first home was Is there kids in the neighborhood for my children to play with.

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  • Thank you for the wonderful tips! My husband and I are in the process of making a five year plan to purchase our first house. Give us plenty of time to get finances and such in order. It’ll be really nice to own a home for once.

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  • We bought our first home, added on as the kids came, and 34 years laters, still here. Worked for us, not always perfect, but saved us a lot of money.

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  • One I afford

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  • I’d look for a home in a good neighborhood :)

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  • We are thinking about moving in the next few years so we can get my daughter into a better school by the time she is in middle school, thanks for all the great tips! It is so hard trying to find a house we can afford.

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  • I have been only able to rent due to finances,but soon as my 5 y old will start going to 1st grade we would like to buy a house,when i get a job,And thank you for your tips!

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  • My ex is a Realtor so it makes my home buying experience so much easier. You have some great tips

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  • I’ve only been able to rent. There are pros and cons to buying your own home. I would not like it if something big went wrong because then it would be all my expense.

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  • We bought our house from my inlaws and paid extra to help them out and I’m so regretting it now…never knew how much of a burden a high mortgage was (my first home was a great house in Savannah that we got for a steal)..so making sure you can afford the payment is key.

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  • Be sure that you really like the house, that your comfortable

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  • Location is always at the top of our list!

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  • This is helpful . thanks.

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  • I probably won’t be buying a house but if I was I would be looking for a house that had a good basic house with no major problems such as good heating/cooling system, good plumbing, good roof and no mold or asbestos.

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  • This is great info and you should be very proud of yourselves in doing the work yourselves to fix up your house!

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  • I am not looking forward to purchasing a home at all.

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  • Thank you, this is information that I can use.

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  • This is information that I can use. Thanks.

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  • i don’t own a house yet to think about that but this is very good information, something i will need to check in sometime in the future ;) Thanks @tisonlyme143

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