Buying a new home comes with challenges, from the physical to the financial. While the process of buying a home can feel overwhelming, taking the time to get educated first can give the homebuyer more confidence that they're making the best choices for them. That can allow the homebuyer to worry less about the financial commitment, and instead enjoy the excitement of their new home.
Budget is one of the most important things to consider before even looking for a new home. Knowing what a buyer can afford can help them target the right price range, home size, and neighborhoods. Considering current income, what monthly payment they're comfortable with, the size of their down payment (usually 20 percent of the purchase price or more), and other expenses can be crucial to understanding what kind of home buyers might feel confident purchasing.
Getting their finances in order
Once their budget is determined, new homebuyers will likely want to get their finances overall in order. This can involve gathering documents, including W-2s, tax returns, bank statements, and more in order to get pre-approved for or apply for a loan. This may also mean considering different lenders and shopping around for the right loan term and interest rate.
What to set aside for closing costs and repairs
Once the sale is nearly complete, buyers still need to have money set aside for final closing costs. Closing costs can include loan origination fees, attorney costs, and an appraisal, among other items, and can add up to thousands of dollars. Then it's time to consider the house itself: Any repairs or upgrades that a buyer wants to make should be factored into the budget before closing, too.
Other maintenance costs
"Beyond major repairs, a new home can come with ongoing maintenance needs and additional expenses," said Josh Dorfman, a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual. "Those can be in the form of utility bills, landscaping, upkeep, or other recurring costs such as property tax and homeowners insurance. Considering these things ahead of time can help homebuyers ensure their budget reflects the true cost of the new home."
A new home in a new neighborhood can come with a cost-of-living change. Utility costs such as gas, water, and electricity may change significantly in a new home. A new neighborhood may come with increased expenses, too. Perhaps the home will include a longer distance to work. Lifestyle shifts can be a big part of moving into a new home, and buyers should be prepared for associated costs.
Getting purchase protection
A home is a large purchase that buyers will typically pay for over many years. Given that, they may want to consider securing, particularly if they have a significant other or family. Life insurance can provide a safety net that new homebuyers are looking for. If they were to pass away unexpectedly, the death benefit from life insurance can allow their family to continue paying the mortgage. Getting the right life insurance can mean homebuyers can protect their purchase and have peace of mind.
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