Buying a Home: Considerations for People Who Want a Home Office
So, you’re ready to buy a house! Perhaps this is your first time looking for the right house, or maybe you’ve done this before and have some experience with the process. A new home is a considerable investment that is not to be taken lightly. With that in mind, we’ve gathered information so you can tackle this decision with ease.
Creating a Budget
Experts say you shouldn’t spend more than 25 percent of your gross monthly income on housing. Examine your finances objectively so you can create a budget that will help you buy, keep, and maintain your home. Make a list of your debts and financial obligations, such as credit cards, student loans, and car payments. Compare that with your gross monthly income to figure out your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders will use this number to see if you can make monthly mortgage payments. Monthly mortgage payments are just the start of owning a home. According to this first house guide, before taking out your first mortgage, you should also consider the costs of other obligations including property taxes, home insurance, and maintenance. You’ll also want to think about your current income and how you’re planning to maintain and grow it in the future.
Finally, you’ll also need a realistic household budget if you decide to get a home loan. The 25 percent rule isn’t set in stone, of course, so the best thing to do is to buy a home you know you can reasonably pay for. If you apply for a loan, lenders will look at things such as the value of your home and the down payment you can afford.
Sellers and lenders suggest having at least a 20 percent down payment for your new home. Know that you can still get a loan even if you haven’t saved up this amount, but it will affect your interest rate. Your credit history will also be looked at, as it indicates whether you are likely and able to repay your loan. Don’t wait until you find the home of your dreams to seek out a loan. A pre-approval can help you let sellers and agents know you’re committed to owning a home, and it can speed up the process when you’re ready to make an offer on the property.
Finding a Real Estate Agent
With all the information you can find online, you may feel that a real estate agent is unnecessary. The reality is that finding the right agent can help you navigate competitive markets and get the best possible deal. Ask friends and family for recommendations. That’s because a real estate agent will be in your life for a few months during this crucial financial decision. As such, it pays to make sure you trust them.
Ask your agent questions about the neighborhood you are interested in. You are more likely to find a great home if you work with expert realtors like Edith Rowe and Catherine Strachanin who know the ins and outs of the Outer Banks housing market.
The internet can be a great resource for those who are searching for a dream home. Don’t rely on search engines or national retail websites to give you the most accurate information. Although these sites contain pictures and some data, they may not be updated in real time. You may see a beautiful home only to find out it has been sold, which can add to your frustration. In addition, national websites aren’t the best place to look because they’re notorious for charging real estate agents a monthly or annual fee to let them advertise as specialists in a given area instead of recommending the best agent for you.
Instead, use a multiple listing service (MLS) to find a home in your desired location. MLS sites are typically updated in real time. What’s more, you can also sign up for email lists from MLS sites that can help you narrow your search. Real estate agents can also send you automated emails with updates on homes in your area and neighborhood of interest. In either case, you can set criteria for the types of emails you want to receive. Consider the features you’d prefer in a home; if you work from home or want to operate a business, for instance, you can look for a home with enough rooms for you to set up a home office, for example.
Designing or Building a Home
Some people may prefer to build a home instead of buying an already existing one. Like buying a home that is ready for move-in, you need to think about your new home’s location, price, and the land you will build it on. The process can be more complicated than buying a home, but it can suit people who have a clear idea of what they want. You’ll still have to buy the land you want to build on. Make sure to ask questions about its topography when you ask about cost. Before starting construction, be sure to check with your city or jurisdiction to ensure your plan follows all laws, regulations, codes, and homeowners association guidelines.
Building a home also implies responsibility: You need to figure out what you’ll do about sewage and getting water and power into your home. A reputable home builder can help you with these hurdles in addition to assisting with your home’s design. The best part of designing and building your own home is choosing a floor plan that allows you to maximize space as you see fit. Remember that builders have specialties, and some only build from set plans of your choosing, while others specialize in custom-built homes.
Thinking of running a business from the comfort of your home? You can take your goals into consideration when creating your new floor plan. Look at local zoning laws as well to make sure it’s legal to run a business from your home. Even better, try to look for lots and locations that are pre-approved for homes that will be used as residences and businesses.
A house is an asset you can enjoy for decades to come. Take as much time as you need to understand what you can truly afford, and explore all your options. If you’re entrepreneurial and know you may want to run a business from someday, all the extra planning you do now will ensure you not only end up with a great home, but that you will comply with local laws pertaining to your homeownership and business goals.