Tuesday, October 6, 2020 / by Vanessa Saunders
By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.
There are a lot of people living in the Hudson Valley who are hoping to buy their first home sometime soon. This summer’s seller’s market, where buyers struggled against other buyers to find a home that fit both their budget and their lifestyle, was not a great place to find a first home. Adhering to pandemic protocols that limited house showings, delays in getting pre-approvals for mortgages and job lay-offs have frozen many potential buyers.
But this too shall pass. If you are considering buying your first home, now is the time to familiarize yourself with your market, and make some decisions about what kind of home you plan to buy. Here are some practical tips to guide you in your search.
Put affordability first.
You may be dreaming of specific design elements, such as granite countertops or an open floor plan. But those details may be beyond your reach right now. Better to sit down and look at your income and expenses to decide how much house you can afford. Nothing is worse than being “House Poor,” living in a fancy home you can’t afford to furnish.
Talk to a mortgage lender and have them give you a target price range. Don’t be tempted to go for the top of the range - what you qualify for is not necessarily what you can comfortably afford. Instead of going all-in with your first home, it's wiser to look for a more affordable starter home that won't break your budget and leaves room for furniture, entertainment or the unexpected life expenses that are sure to arise.
Location etc. etc.
Instead of dreaming about floor plan and amenities, consider instead if the location you are looking at suits your lifestyle. Is it convenient to your friends, family, stores and work? Not only could it increase your expenses if you spend more money and time commuting, but it can cost you emotionally if you are stressed out from sitting in traffic each day.
Fixer-upper or finished gem?
Believe it or not, unless you are proficient with renovations and home maintenance projects, you should probably not look at a property needing a lot of upgrades. Home improvement television shows make it look easy to do a variety of renovations (and they all turn out perfect!), but the reality couldn't be further from the truth. First-time buyers are better off purchasing a home that has been properly maintained and doesn't require a lot of repairs or upkeep before you move in. Don’t worry - you’ll have your chance to swing a hammer soon enough.
Remember, It’s a starter home.
You won’t be living in your first home forever, so have an exit strategy - a plan to move on when the time comes. Choose a home that will be easy to sell or rent in the future, or one in a good neighborhood or school district that can easily be sold. The last thing you want is to be stuck with the property when you are ready to move on.
Use this time to decide the kind of starter home you want, one that’s well within your means that meets your current and future wants and needs, with an exit strategy in place. Come to us and let our local area specialists find the perfect first-time home for you. CONTACT US HERE.