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Preparing for First Time Home Ownership

Homeownership is one of life's grand journeys. As with all adventures, if you want to be successful, it's important to go into the action prepared.

Here are a few tips to help new homeowners prepare for their first foray into the world of homeownership.

Lay the Financial Groundwork Early
You may have crunched the numbers and found that a 30-year mortgage payment is actually lower than what you're paying for rent. While this may be true, many other factors go into paying for your own home, such as:

  • A down payment and even the potential for earnest money to help you get the house in the first place;

  • Property taxes and homeowner's insurance;

  • Gas, electric, and other utility bills;

  • Maintenance and home improvement projects;

  • HOA or co-op fees.

These extra costs shouldn't deter you from purchasing a home. On the contrary, the long-term investment can be very financially rewarding. However, to make your home a monetarily savvy purchase, you must be honest about the costs involved.

Know What to Look for
The next step is to consider what factors you need to be aware of when buying a home. Even if you've decided to buy a fixer-upper that needs work, it's still important to go into the experience knowing what kind of work you're willing to do as well as what basic structural requirements are needed to do it. If you aren't up for investing some sweat equity, it's even more imperative to do your research beforehand.

A few of the more common home buying considerations include things like:

  • Your ideal size and number of floors;

  • Desired storage space;

  • Kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom requirements;

  • External property features, such as a yard or a fence;

  • The local neighborhood and school system;

  • Governing board of the building if buying a condo or townhouse.

It's important to pull together your list of homebuying priorities before you step foot in your first potential home.

Plan for the Long-Term
One of the natural advantages of owning a home is that it's a long-term investment. However, that investment will only be worth it if you take the time to keep up on your home's maintenance and repairs.

Many factors go into keeping a home in good working order over time. During the homebuying process, you can start this process by hiring a good home inspector to thoroughly look over your home. They can give you a professional opinion about what needs work as well as what is already in good working order.

From there, you can start to plan:

  • Start with basic maintenance items, like keeping the home clean, sealing up leaks, and maintaining your various appliances.

  • From there, plan projects for the next few years, such as refinishing floors or replacing the roof.

  • Finally, consider your long-term improvement plans, such as home improvement projects and modifications that can keep your home both livable for yourself and easy to sell at a high price for the foreseeable future.

Long-term planning is one of the best ways to make your home financially worth the investment.

Going into Homeownership with Both Eyes Open
Countless factors should be taken into consideration when buying a home. Finances, knowing what to look for, and planning for the long-term should rank high on your list of preparatory activities.

This can help you establish a firm financial base, avoid potential disasters, and be ready to maintain your home's value right from the get-go. If you can do that, you can experience a great homeownership journey right from day one.