Buying a house isn’t like shopping for new furniture or even getting a new car. It’s an investment that will shape your future finances and determine your lifestyle for the foreseeable future. For first-time home buyers, this can be intimidating. Real estate agents know their first-time clients are eager to get started house hunting, but before they do, there’s a lot to learn about the home-buying process.
Here are three questions first-time home buyers need to ask:
- How Do I Know What I Can Afford? You can find online calculators that will give you a rough estimate of what you can afford based on your income, but talking to your agent will be a more worthwhile use of your time. As a general rule, Bankrate recommends keeping your monthly housing expenses around 25% of your income after taxes. That includes the mortgage, interest, and any additional expenses. Familiarize yourself with your financial situation before you meet with a lender.
- Besides My Mortgage, What Other Costs Will I Be Responsible For? When calculating how much you can afford, don’t make the mistake of underestimating additional costs. There are monthly mortgage payments, utility bills, maintenance costs, home insurance, and homeowner association dues. Your real estate agent will be able to give you an estimate based on local trends and what the previous property owner paid.
- What Neighborhoods Should I Be Looking At? Give your realtor a detailed list of everything you’re looking for in a neighborhood. Do you prefer to be close to shopping and restaurants? Would you rather be off the beaten path but still in a good school district? Your real estate agent is a useful source of local knowledge. They spend their days researching everything there is to know about different neighborhoods, and they can match your needs to the perfect location.
Buying a house is both exciting and stressful, but with the right help, you can invest with confidence. Sarah Hines at EXIT Realty of Juneau is one of the area’s top real estate agents, and she focuses on helping first-time buyers find the homes of their dreams. Find out how she can help you buy a house by calling (907) 723-7381, or visit her website to browse real estate listings.