Whether you're getting into the real estate game as an investment opportunity, a place for you and family to live, or a combination of both, there are several important factors to consider before buying a house. It's easy enough to sign on for a mortgage, but you have to live with the decision you've made. Considering the cost of the average house, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Better to take a measured and thorough approach than to buy hastily and regret what you've done. Before you take out that loan, here are some of the most important things to think about.
Can You Afford the Purchase?
It was not long ago that many homeowners discovered that they were living in an unsustainable financial circumstance. This led to a housing crisis the country has still not fully recovered from. While predatory mortgage lenders were large to blame for what happened, personal responsibility has come into play as well. Many of these homeowners could have saved themselves from financial dire straits by being honest with themselves about their ability to afford homes beyond their means. Do not make the same mistake in your search for real estate. Buying below your means is always a better idea than buying beyond them.
There are fewer more important factors when it comes to real estate than location. This is as true for the investment minded as it is for those looking for nice place to live. If you buy beachfront property, you know that your home is only going to appreciate with time. Beachfront property only gets rarer with time, and once you have a piece of it, people will be interested. Buying into an unproven area, on the other hand, introduces a lot of risk. The same is true if you're looking for a place for your family. Look at the neighborhood carefully. Better to buy an average house in a great neighborhood than a wonderful house in a shady neighborhood.
Unless you are lucky enough to find a home you can afford in a beautiful location with everything you want or need, you may want to leave room in your budget for upgrades. A few years down the road, you may decide you want to change up the kitchen. You may even want to put in a swimming pool. You will not be able to do these things if your mortgage has you up against the wall each month. An important aspect of buying real estate is saving money for improvements down the line.