A House Shopping How-To Guide On Buying a Home

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The Reality of House Shopping

In this two-part series, Optimum provides a how-to guide on house shopping to help with the process of home buying. Next week, Part 2 dives into the process of closing and locking in your new home!

Shopping for a new home is a huge milestone in people’s lives. It is extremely exciting, but it can also be incredibly stressful. This big life change is often associated with many other notable milestones like launching a new career, starting a family, and obtaining financial independence. In this article, we will break down some of the must-dos when beginning your search for your new home! We hope this proves useful for this exhilarating new endeavor. 

Make Sure You’re Prepared

As you probably already know, it’s essential that you’re in a good enough place financially that you can comfortably put down a down payment, take out a mortgage, etc. An equally important thing to consider is if you’re in a good place mentally and emotionally to make this type of commitment and investment. It’s crucial that you don’t make any rash decisions during such a big decision and that you take your future goals into consideration throughout the entire process.  

If you’re buying with a partner, do you have the same mentalities about money? Do you both want children and if so, how many? Do you want a bigger or smaller house? Do you want a 15- or 30-year mortgage? What factors are most important to you? location, school district, proximity to family, or perhaps something else? 

Manage Your Money

 As we mentioned before, this is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make. You’ll be signing a hefty check for this endeavor, after all. For this reason, it’s essential that you have a solid figurative foundation prior to committing to your new literal foundation. We highly suggest outlining a budget that you’re comfortable with based on your income, any lingering debts, as well as your credit score.  

Your credit score is especially important because it can help you earn a lower mortgage rate. Even if you’re qualified for a more sizeable mortgage, it might be better to live below your means if this commitment might conflict with some of your other ones! 

You will also need to take into consideration whether your budget is realistic when evaluating your location, the school district, your plans to start a family, and your commute to work.  

Put Money Down

 Once you’ve landed on your magic number with regards to your budget, you can now determine what you’re comfortable contributing as a down payment. Though 20% has been the long-time standard amount, some homeowners would rather put down less.  

Do know though that if you put down less for your down payment, you will need mortgage insurance. This loan will impact the minimum amount required for your down payment.  

If this just happens to be your first home, you may want to research state first-time home buyer programs since they offer financial advice and assistance. 

Envision Your Dream Home

 Now, we get to the fun stuff! Shopping for a home isn’t just be about the stressful stuff like monetary calculations, research, and liabilities. In this part of the process, you get to brainstorm and figure out what the “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” are for you. Do you want a single-family home, a condo, co-op, duplex, and/or a big backyard? What do you have your heart-set on? 

When you picture your dream home, are you living somewhere peaceful and quiet deep in the woods, or are you in a loud, bustling city surrounded by coffee shops galore? Do you want to buy a house that’s move-in ready that requires minimal work or do you get excited by fixer-upper type projects?  

If you don’t mind the extra stress of a costly, time-consuming undertaking, getting a fixer-upper might be a great option if you want to live in a larger house, or in a costlier neighborhood, than your budget would otherwise allow for. 

I Know What Kind of House I Want, Now What?!

As you can probably tell, searching for your dream home is a project in and of itself so to make all of these steps a bit more digestible – we will be sharing an article about finding your dream home and actually locking it in, next week! We know how stressful this process can be, so we want to ensure it is as painless and stress-free as possible. 

In the meantime, you can begin thinking about all the things you’ll need to make your future home, well, feel more like home! We’re sure you’re looking forward to the days you can binge-watch Netflix in your new living room, play Christmas music while decorating the tree with your family, and watch your kids giggle after school, as they battle each other while playing the latest video games. When that time comes, Optimum will be more than happy to provide affordable, dependable Internet, cable, and even phone services if need be! Have a think on what you and your family are going to need.

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