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Long Term Considerations for Homeowners

Buying a home is a smart idea. Not only is a house a great investment, but it will be a loving place for your family to create memories for years to come. But homeownership is more than just signing on the dotted line.

There are many considerations that must be made before going forward, especially if this is the house that you plan to live in for the rest of your life. The costs, construction, and even the weather patterns in your state must be considered. Let's look at some important points.

Mortgage Costs
Before you even begin looking at potential houses, you have to be sure that you have the money saved to afford the many costs that go into it, including closing costs and move-in expenses. Think about what you can afford in terms of mortgage payments. You may have a high-paying job now, but you cannot predict how that will change in the future. This is why you need to save money and focus on your down payment. The more you can pay upfront, the lower your monthly costs will be going forward.

Another factor that will impact your monthly payment is the interest rate, and to get the lowest rate possible, you need to have a good credit score. Your score shows how good you are with paying off debts, and if it is poor, you could get a higher interest rate and payments. Keep your credit score in a good place by keeping the balances low and checking your report periodically for errors.

Also, keep in mind that down the line, you may have the option to refinance your loan to get a lower rate and a better payment. You can do so even if you have bad credit by working with your current lender, as that relationship may prove beneficial. You can also try a co-signer or apply for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan.

Ensure Your Home Will Last
Now that you have found the home of your dreams, you want to take the proper precautions to make sure it will last. First, it is essential that you have a home inspection completed, especially if the house is older and in need of work. This inspection will have experts check everything from the plumbing and electricity to the strength of the roof. You want to get this done, so you know your house is sound, and you won't have surprise repair costs down the road.

Next, you need to research homeowners insurance. This is the coverage that you will need if your house or anything within it, including appliances, becomes damaged by an incident described in your policy. This insurance is also important if an outsider is injured while inside your house, and you are held responsible.

Also, consider where you will be living and if you can afford all of the outside costs. How much are the property taxes? Will you pay fees to a homeowners association? Additionally, consider if you are living in an area prone to natural disasters, including the earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes that can be common in the U.S. If you choose to live in these areas, make a plan for how you will protect your home if a natural disaster were to strike.

Modify for the Future
If this is the house where you plan to retire and spend the end of your days, then it is a good idea to modify it to fit your changing needs as you get older. Consider changes that will help you now and then. Start by installing plenty of lighting in all rooms so you can see as your vision deteriorates down the line. Use LED bulbs that will last longer and reduce your electric bill.

Think about how your needs will evolve as you get older. You might have less energy or be wheelchair-bound, so consider widening doorways, keeping light switches lower to the ground, and putting handrails in the entryway and along the stairs. In the kitchen, consider under-cabinet lighting and lowered countertops.

This is also a good time to think about adding smart devices that will make your tech and appliances easier to use now and in the future. Smart speakers can allow you to do just about anything from turn on the TV to lock the front door. Smart doorbells will provide extra security with cameras that can monitor what is happening outside and deter criminals with intentions of damaging your home.

There are many considerations to be made when purchasing a new home, and if you plan to live there forever, then you really need to get your ducks in a row. Follow the tips above and increase your chances of happy homeownership.