Buying a home for the first time can be a trial by fire. As you get older, even when you have experience with buying a home, it is easy to get overwhelmed and to forget the little things that you need to do or check. It helps to have a reliable realtor, but here are a few things that you should always have in the forefront of your mind when shopping for a new home.

Larger Down Payment Saves Money

When you finalize the purchase of your new home, chances are that you won’t be able to pay the full amount and you will have to get a mortgage. There are a variety of factors that affect your mortgage payments, but one of the biggest is the size of your down payment. The more money you can pay at the beginning, the less you will have to pay interest on. Your initial down payment can be as low as 5% of the price, but it is better to pay at least 20% or more if possible. Look at home prices in terms of how much of a down payment you can make, so you don’t have to pay as much overall.

Talk to an Expert

The house you want to buy may look perfect, but there is more to the home than you can see. Without an expert opinion, you may miss problems with the foundation, plumbing, HVAC system, or any number of other problems. Once the contract is signed, the sale is final and any problems you find are your responsibility. While it may cost a little extra, you should make sure that you have a professional inspect the home before you finalize the sale.

Plan for Long Term

This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you buy a home, you need to be looking to the future. This is an incredibly expensive purchase that you will be paying off for the next few decades, so don’t make this decision without thinking about the future. You may not want to pay rent anymore, but if your job is going to require you to move in the next little while or you are looking to have a lot more children, it might be wise to hold off on purchasing a home until you are in a more stable situation. You don’t want to buy a house and then lose money selling it in just a few years.

Location Matters

The location of your home matters just as much as the home itself. You may find a home that you think is your dream home, but if it isn’t close to good schools, in a safe area, or close to work, it might not be as good as it seems. There is so much more to the quality of your life than the features of your home. You can always renovate or upgrade parts of your home, but you can’t change the quality of education for your children or your safety. Make sure you look at where you will be living, not just the home.

Don’t Forget Security

After you do your research and decide what home you are going to buy, you need to start making preparations for moving in. While there are a variety of things you need to do, don’t forget to set up a security system. This is a vulnerable time for your home and burglars will be tempted by the moving trucks. Having even just the basic security system can provide a lot of protection and peace of mind. Try to get an alarm system set up and place a sign in your yard or window as soon as possible to discourage criminals.

Selecting and buying a home is an exciting decision, and by paying attention to the details, you can avoid many common pitfalls. It is a big purchase, so don’t be afraid to take your time and to ask experts for help.

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