Buying a home is a big step and a huge investment. So you need to make absolutely certain you’re ready and able to buy that first or next home. That means you should have a good idea of what you’re looking for, what you can afford, how you will finance it, and whether you are ready for the responsibility. And in order to determine these things, you’ll need to ask the right penetrating questions. To help you out, then, here are 5 questions to ask yourself before buying a home in New Jersey.
1. Can I actually afford to buy a home?
Your first step toward buying a home in New Jersey should be to determine whether you can actually afford it and how much you can afford. And you need to be brutally honest when you ask yourself this question.
“Purchasing a home is an expensive undertaking and you’ll need to map out your entire budget well before you consider moving toward buying a home. If you’ve got the down payment, the closing costs, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and the money, time, and energy to maintain the house, you should definitely buy your next home.”
And here, according to industry experts, are some more specific figures to help you determine whether buying a home is right for you . . .
“Your entire mortgage payment should be no more than 25% of your gross income. You can stretch this to up to 28% if you have no other debts at all. If you’re taking out two mortgages, you need to combine these payments to find out whether you meet the criteria.”
In addition, the total of your monthly debt payments should come to no more than 33% of your gross income. “If you reach beyond what you can afford to pay, you risk the possibility of losing your home, so be realistic about it. If you cannot afford the house you want, you may consider renting a bit longer or looking for something more affordable.”
2. What is most important to me in a new home?
Once you’ve calculated all aspects of affordability, the next question to ask yourself before buying a home in New Jersey involves what is most important to you in the home.
“Light? Space? Views? Wheelchair accessibility? A yard? Proximity to schools/parks/your gym? Do you have a preferred floor plan layout? Will you need an extra bedroom? Storage space? Parking? Do you care about friendly neighbors? Luxury living? Low monthly fees?”
The possibilities and options in features and amenities can seem nearly endless, so, in order to make things more manageable, you need a good idea of what’s important to you. Experts recommend that before you begin your home search, you “take the time to sit down and determine the home features that are most important to you, and which ones you can live without.” says Peta. Use this checklist to determine what homes are worth visiting and as a guide for what budget is realistic, given the amenities deemed important.”
If you find yourself struggling to pin down exactly what is important to you in a home, don’t hesitate to contact a New Jersey agent for assistance. Just call 855-966-DEAL, to find out more about this.
3. Is my credit good enough to buy a home?
A very important question you should ask yourself when buying a home in New Jersey concerns your credit. Is it in fact good enough for you to get financing and be a competitive buyer?
“Credit history and your current score,” according to industry pros, “could determine how you stack up among other buyers, and you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting the best mortgage package to fulfill your home purchase – so prepare your credit before your search begins.”
If your credit score is lower than you’d like, get to work immediately improving it. Pay off or at least pay down debt, and make all payments on time. If you find errors in your credit report, rectify those. Getting your score up will get you a better interest rate and better terms on your mortgage.”
4. How do I plan to finance the purchase?
Also when buying a home, you’ll need to know exactly how you plan to finance the purchase and what will work best for your financial situation.
What do you need the length of the loan to be? “You can choose a 10, 15, 20, or 30-year mortgage. The longer the term you choose, the lower your monthly payments, but the more you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan.”
In addition, “[y]ou may qualify for a government loan from the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) with a lower down payment if this is your first home. These types of loans may also work for those who may have a hard time getting approved by conventional lenders.”
Ultimately financial experts recommend that you “[d]o your research on the types of loans for homebuyers to ensure that you’re going with the financing option that’s best for you.”
5. Am I really ready for the responsibility of homeownership?
And, finally, before buying a home in New Jersey, you need to determine whether you’re really ready for all the responsibility homeownership entails.
“Once you’re a homeowner, you’re responsible for many issues that a landlord normally oversees when you’re renting, such as handling repairs when the furnace goes out or the refrigerator dies. To prepare for this, you need to have a fund set up for home repairs, starting with at least $5,000 before you buy. If your budget is too tight with a house payment, you likely aren’t ready and should wait to buy a home. Also make sure that you can afford your home insurance in addition to your house payment, as well as additional costs like buying new furniture or paint.”
Bonus: Have I found a good real estate agent?
A final important (but often neglected) question to ask yourself when buying a home is this: “Do I have an experienced, local New Jersey agent to assist me?” A good agent can make a huge difference in making the home search and purchase process go smoothly. So if buying a home in New Jersey is your goal, be sure to contact us today at 855-966-DEAL.