So you want to buy a house. Now what?

couple talking to mortgage loan officer

Maybe you need more space, or you’re tired of paying rent. Regardless of the reason, purchasing a piece of real estate is one of the biggest yet most exciting decisions you’ll make. Before you start sampling color swatches for your new kitchen, there are a few questions to ask yourself before you find the house that will become your home.

Can I afford this?

Buying a home is a significant investment, while maintaining your home and paying all related bills is a whole other realm of financial responsibility. To get started, it’s best to understand what you’re able to afford. Are your ready to make a large financial investment, or does it make sense to keep renting? Use our online calculator to find out!

Should I rent or buy?

The Rent vs. Buy calculator helps you weed through the fees, taxes and monthly payments to help you make a decision.

Find Out >>

How is my credit?

Having a good credit score can help you get a better rate on a home loan. A good credit score shows lenders that you can responsibly repay the loaned amount. Before you begin the application process, request credit reports from the three credit bureaus. This way, you can assess your credit early on and see if it needs improvement. If your credit score could use a boost, you can begin the process of improving your credit score before you get too deep into the application process.

Where am I in my financial and personal life?

Are there any outstanding debts, like student loans or credit card debt, that you could be paying down first? Before you take on the financial task of buying a home, you should pay off any other outstanding debts. It is best to purchase your first home with a clean financial slate. Then you should consider the size of your home. Are you just starting out, a growing household or an empty nester? It’s essential to buy a home that physically fits your living situation.

Where do I want to live?

The reason realtors are always chirping about location is because it is a huge factor when it comes to deciding where you want to live. When choosing a property, you have to really look into the location and see if it fits your lifestyle. Is it close to where you, or other members of your household, work? Is the school district one you could see your kids in? Check out the property value of other homes in the neighborhood and investigate whether it is a low or high-crime area. Don’t compromise on the location just because you absolutely love a house. Make sure the location is ideal for you and any other people you may be living with.

Do I see myself staying here for a while?

The rule of thumb is to stay in a home for at least five years. This is because a house is an investment, but is not economical as a short-term investment. You’ll gain more equity the longer you stay in and maintain your home. You can even use the equity in your home for future home improvements.

Am I willing to put in the work?

There is a lot of responsibility that comes with owning a home. Whenever something breaks in your apartment, you call the landlord to fix it. If something breaks in your home, you are the landlord now. That means fixing the pipes, replacing old appliances and purchasing a new water heater if your current one stops working. If you purchase property with a lawn that has landscape requirements, you’re going to be mowing the lawn and shoveling your driveway, unless you hire a service to do those tasks for you. However, if you purchase a condominium, those tasks are typically taken care of for you. Before you purchase your home, make sure you are up to the task of taking care of it, so it can return the favor to you for years to come.

Buying a home can be an incredibly exciting process when done with the right lender. Want to make your homebuying process as simple as possible? Work with one of Wisconsin’s leading mortgage lenders. A Landmark Mortgage Representative will help you find the perfect loan to finance your dream home. If you’re just starting your homebuying journey, attend one of our upcoming First-Time Home Buyer seminars to learn more about the process and receive expert advice.

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