Photo by Kelsey Schisler on Unsplash

If buying a home is on your agenda this year, there are several factors you need to consider before making the jump. Look at the tips below to make sure you put your best foot forward when starting the home buying process.

Know What You Can Afford

This part of the process can be difficult because you must be painfully honest with yourself or risk problems down the road. You know how much you make. What you need to know is home much of that is available for a mortgage payment and insurance every month and annual taxes and fees. Sometimes, it can be easier to work from the other direction and determine how much you have left over after other expenses are accounted for in your plan. These are things like car payments, monthly food purchases, and school-related expenses. When you get there, you need to have a number to represent how much you can spend each month to pay for your housing. You won’t be the only one doing this, of course. Your lender will also make the same assessment when they decide how much they’re going to be willing to lend you!

Know What You Want

You want to make a list of all the things that would make a new house perfect for the life you envision living in it but be sure only to add things that would really make you happy. This isn’t about what you can afford, but what you would like to have if you could get it. A media room? A three-car garage? A soaking tub and walk-in closets in the primary? Write it down. A list like this can help you narrow potential choices down as you compare what’s on this list to the features of houses you’ve seen.

Know What You Need

This one is a little harder because you must take the list you just made and take out everything that isn’t essential to the life you want. While the list above is what would be nice to have, this is the list of things that a potential new home must-have. You might be able to live without wood floors, but what about a third bedroom or second bathroom? Or access to top-notch schools and medical care. Handing this list to a real estate professional means, you’re going to only see houses that have already passed an essential screening.

Having thought through these elements before you begin searching can save you a lot of time. 

When you start looking at houses, you’ll see the benefit of this preparation right away. And with some luck, you will be in the perfect new home in no time!