Four questions to ask yourself before buying an Arizona home
For many Arizonans exploring the idea of buying a house can be an exciting, and it can also be nerve-wracking and uncertain at times. Spending late nights searching on home search sites, trying to figure out which neighborhood to live in and what your priorities are can be overwhelming.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important for Arizona home buyers to get their home loan pre-approved. The pre-approval lets you set realistic boundaries for what an affordable house payment should be.
Here are four questions to ask yourself before you apply for start searching for a home, apply for a mortgage and start packing:
1. Are the monthly costs going to be realistic?
Is your financial position in such a place where you can buy a five-bedroom home with a large lot and a pool? What about the additional maintenance, upkeep, and utilities a large home will bring? Have you considered those added costs? What about the higher property taxes you will pay for the larger house? All of these items have to be considered as they will be ‘“your reality” as soon as you sign the papers to buy the house.
What’s more, according to U.S. News & World Report, homeowners will spend between 1% and 4% of a home’s value on maintenance costs each year. That can add up to thousands each year. A little planning and budgeting can go along way, so keep these expenses in mind.
When considering conventional mortgage rates and your long-term future, don’t just try to picture yourself paying that amount for the rest of the year. Instead, picture yourself paying that mortgage every month for the next five to 10 years.
Do you expect your income to increase or remain the same for the foreseeable future? What if you lost your job? Do you have enough cash in reserves to help tide you over for a bit?
2. What will the commute be like for both?
We all know that traffic on our Arizona highways and especially in the Phoenix metro area, we need to take into account the daily commute for both. Again, it’s all about quality of life – an extra 10-15 minutes for better schools and a backyard is probably worth it, but if you’re looking to increase your commute by 30 minutes or more each way, remember that this will affect your daily life in a tangible way. An extra hour each day, for example, adds up to about 250 hours per year.
3. Is this a long-term home?
Opting for a starter home as a first-time buyer is a great option to enter the housing market without breaking the bank, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle. For instance, a smaller ranch home may be the perfect option if it’s in a desirable area that you can picture yourself staying in for a few years.
In addition, many Arizona Baby Boomers are at a crossroad and are considering if they should sell their larger homes and downsize, so consider your stage of life and how long you intend to stay in the new home.
4. What’s the future of your family?
Do you predict you may become a caretaker for an aging parent over the next few years? If so, you may want to consider a single-level home over a multi-level home. A home is a long-term investment, which means you should always keep the future in mind when deciding on buying a property.
For that matter, if you’re looking for a home to live in well into your retirement years, the same applies – what will your life look like in the coming years, and how will your living space fit into those plans?
If you’re a new parent, you should ask yourself whether you plan to have more children in the future. If so, should you get a house with an extra bedroom, or do you plan to move when your children are still young enough to comfortably share a room? Do you imagine your kids playing in a spacious backyard, or are nearby parks plenty for your family?
There are many things to think through when buying a home, including these kinds of practicalities and long-term thinking. By taking your time while planning the next several years of your life and looking for a home that’s worth the effort, you’ll be able to enter the home buying market with your eyes open, ready to find a home that’s the perfect fit for your life.
If you haven’t done so already, please download my free Home Buyer’s Quick Checklist. You can get it here: Home Buyer’s Quick Checklist. If you would like to download my free VA Home Loan Information you can download it here: VA Home Loan Information