July 25, 2018 | Bob Myers

In the market for a new home but have no idea where to start?  There are several decisions you should begin to make before you even start your home search.  By asking yourself the right questions, you can  quickly pinpoint what you want – and can afford – in your next home.

1. What’s your budget?  See how your finances stand up to the 28/36 rule,  which lenders use to see what you can afford to pay each month.  Going through the mortgage pre-approval process lets you know how much lenders will allow you to borrow – plus when your agent presents your offer, it will show sellers that you have the funds to backup it up.

2. What do you need in your new home?  How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need?  What about a large kitchen, a home office or a playroom for the kids?  How many cars need covered parking?  It’s critically important to ensure the home you select meets your  family and lifestyle needs.

3. Do you want a condo, townhome or single-family home?  Condos  come with much less maintenance. You typically won’t be shoveling snow in the winter or replacing the roof, but you’ll pay monthly association fees to cover services and repairs in the community. Houses, on the other hand, come with more privacy and freedom to customize. They also come with full responsibility for maintenance.

4. How do you feel about living under covenants?  Depending on where you buy, you may have to pay homeowner association  (HOA) fees in addition to your mortgage. There are benefits to HOAs,  such as maintenance, community centers, and maybe even a pool or gym.  But you also could be faced with more restrictive rules about the look  of the outside of your home, down to the color of your front door, types  of window coverings, and whether you can plant flowers in your yard.

5. What school district do you want to be near?  Even if you don’t have children in the house, local schools will affect your  property value. Prospective homebuyers tend to search with education in  mind. Do your research on the schools in the areas you’d like to live in.

6. Should the home be move-in ready?  Ask yourself  how much elbow grease you’re willing to put into a home – or how much  you’ll pay someone else to do the work. Fixer-upper homes can be great  after the work is done, but you’ll want to figure out your renovation  budget before you start your home search.  A 203k home-renovation loan  might be the right resource for you.  If you’re not ready for the extra financial commitment of rehabbing a home, or you can’t or don’t want to wait for remodeling projects to finish up, then a home that’s move-in ready might be right for you.
After considering all these factors, you’ll be ready to start the home search with a clearer picture of where you’re headed. 
When that  time comes, let us guide you all the way there.

Please consider The Myers Team your resource for all things real estate.  We have over 30 years of real estate experience, specializing in the  Montgomery County area.  If you are refinancing, want a recommendation, need a service provider or just have a home related question, please give me a call at 301-910-9910 or email me at bobmyersteam@gmail.com.
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