Here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
1. Are you ready for the added expenses of a home?
Most likely your monthly mortgage payment will be higher than your rental. In addition there are many other new expenses you will have. Is there a pool? Do you have a yard to maintain? Make sure you are prepared for these new costs on into the future.
If you are late with your mortgage payment for even one month, your credit will drop substantially. When this happens your other creditors might adjust your interest rates and payments. It can take a long time to readjust. It is important that you pay your mortgage on time each month to avoid these unpleasant possibilities.
3. Can I get a mortgage?
If you cannot afford to buy a home outright, it is best to get pre-approved for a loan, so you know whether you can buy a home with your current credit and income. Before you spend a lot of time and energy on the process, make sure you can get a mortgage loan.
When you buy your first home, it is hard not to get caught up in the emotion of the experience. You may fall in love with a home, and decide that you are willing to put in all your spare time to fix it up to your liking. But you need to be sure you can stick to that after the “honeymoon” period is over.
5. What are the homes going for in my area?
If your home is the most expensive in the neighborhood, it probably isn’t a good investment. There is a general rule not to pick the nicest home on the block, because lesser homes gain value from better homes in the neighborhood.
6. Will I live here for more than a few years?
If you think you might need to move in a year or two, it probably isn’t the right time to buy a home. It costs quite a bit to buy and sell a home, so you will probably lose money if you must sell quickly. In addition, it can be hard to find a buyer quickly.
7. Will I like the neighborhood?
Make sure that you like the area where you plan to live. If you have children, check out the schools. Is your favorite grocery store nearby? Do the neighbors keep up their homes? Are any of the homes in foreclosure?
8. Will I have Home Owners Association (HOA) or Condominium (COA) dues?
Paying dues and dealing with the HOA or COA can be an asset or a nightmare. If the home you are considering is part of an HOA, check to see if there are any pending lawsuits and what they’re about. Be aware that the dues can go up suddenly, without much warning.
9. Does this home have the space that I’ll need in five years?
Most people do not keep their homes for more than seven years. Often they either outgrow it or find they no longer need as many rooms. Look at the long term needs of your family, before you decide on a home.
10. What are my long-term plans?
If you are buying because you expect the home will appreciate in value quickly, realize that the market might not behave the way you want it to. Determine your long term plans and only buy if you are certain this home can meet those goals.
Amy Vulpis is a full-time real estate professional with Atlantic Properties International, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, FL who specializes in luxury waterfront property. She is dedicated to providing her clients with superior customer service. For any questions regarding buying, selling or leasing or more information on the South Florida Real Estate market contact Amy Vulpis, Realtor @ 954.591.4280 or visit www.amyvulpis.com.