When you are buying a home (especially for the first time) it can come with a lot of anxiety on a lot of levels. I am a firm believer in the more you can know, the less scary it can be. However, this doesn't completely eliminate all home buying fears. In the next few weeks I am going to cover different aspects of buying a home and (hopefully) help ease some of those fears that are keeping you from making any kind of step in looking for a new home.
Fear of Hidden Costs During the Process - One of the big things when buying your first home that can bring on a lot of anxiety is not being prepared for different costs that happen along the way. You have earnest money when you make an offer to give to the seller's side to show you are serious. Having an inspection is very important, but it does cost anywhere from $400 and up depending on what all you have inspected. There are also costs in applying for financing and in title work. Of course there are moving costs you will need to be prepared for and possible utility deposits. One way to try to be ready for these different things is to establish a relationship with a Realtor who goes through this process on a daily basis. They can help you be as ready as possible when those things come up. Just knowing what will happen/when can help ease a lot of that "unknown" anxiety for sure.
Lack of Knowledge About a Budget - Another thing that can freak someone out is not knowing what they can afford in a house payment itself. A renter a lot of times is paying more than what their landlord is paying for the place itself. If you are renting a home, you may be paying your landlord's mortgage and then some because they are out to make some money. Also some of you may not know how much you actually spend on utilities or other things like eating out or gas on an average. You may have an idea but I bet some of you don't keep track of a lot of those things. Knowing how much money you have coming in and exactly where that money goes will help with a big amount of stress towards what you can afford in a new home and that payment. Spend time to learn that before you start your new home search.
Scared of Routine Maintenance Needs - Also if you rent, you probably haven't had to spend money on routine maintenance and the idea of that can be quite overwhelming. Maintenance will vary from home to home, but ALL HOMES need it! If you plan ahead for those costs by budgeting a certain amount per month and adjust it as you learn more about your home, this will help with that fear as well. There are all sorts of resources to help you make sure your take care of your new home properly. Most of us learn as we go, too. Asking your Realtor for help with some of these resources will send you on the path of knowledge that will help ease those maintenance worries.
Taxes & Beyond - Other fears of owning a home is the cost of property taxes, home insurance and the utilities themselves. Generally you can usually get a ballpark of what your property taxes are when you are looking for a new home. There are public websites as well as information your Realtor can help you find to know those answers as well. Home insurance costs you can find out from your insurance agent and a lot of times a seller can give you the average cost that they have paid in utilities. Of course with the last two, all of this can vary with what type of insurance company you use as well as how much your household will use in utilities in a home. But generally speaking, these numbers can help you know a bit more information so you can move forward with your home search with a little more peace of mind.
Buying a home is generally the biggest investment we make in our lives. Of course that will come with a level anxiety, however don't let your fears of the unknown keep you from exploring what options you may have to buy a new home. A lot of those fears can be eased with learning all you can about the process from the experts around you. Talk to your lender to see what options you have and find a great local Realtor to help guide you with all the other things you need to know.