When searching for your first new home, it can be quite intimidating at first. With these helpful tips it should make that process that bit easier

  1. How much house can you really afford?

The bank might be willing to approve you for a large mortgage – but can you really afford it? Before house hunting, we recommend taking a good look at your overall income, current debt and monthly expenses. Home buyers should use the “28%/36% rule, which states that you shouldn’t spend more than 28% of your gross monthly income on home-related costs and 36% on total debts.” Home buyers should also consider their long-term financial goals. For instance, how much money do you need to save each month for retirement, education, etc?

  1. What type of mortgage should you get?

Different types of mortgages to consider include is the conventional mortgage vs. a government-backed mortgage and a fixed-rate mortgage vs. an adjustable-rate mortgage. These mortgages are different so look into which one would suit you best before picking one.

  1. Do you have a good credit score?

You will need a solid credit score or you may not qualify for a home loan. In order to secure a mortgage, most banks require a strong credit score. This high credit score proves that you have a history of paying off your debts and are a responsible borrower. Those with higher credit scores are usually able to put less money down on a down payment. They also obtain lower interest rates.

  1. What are the closing costs (and moving costs) involved in the sale?

Many first-time home buyers only consider the cost of the home itself when house hunting. They forget that the actual cost of buying a home is expensive as well – not to mention, the cost of moving to that home. Don’t forget to factor in every part of the sale when purchasing a home.

  1. How much do utilities cost on a monthly basis?

On average you will be paying €200 a month on bills.

  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, bins) average €146.22       
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data) average €49.79
  1. How long do you plan to live in the home?

How long do you actually plan to live in the home? If you plan to live in the home for just three to five years, then it probably doesn’t make sense to splurge on a home at the top of your budget. Short-term homes, such as starter homes, should also have good resale value – meaning they will sell easily. If you plan to live in the home for longer (or for life), then purchasing a home at the high end of your budget may make sense.

  1. What are the property taxes?

Be sure to ask about property taxes for a home before buying it. Property taxes are a percentage of a home’s worth. These taxes typically pay for local schools, public transportation, roads and infrastructure. Property tax rates vary depending on location.

  1. How good is the location?

When it comes to real estate, the most important factor in whether or not to buy a home is the location. Red flags that should give home buyers pause, include:

  • If a home is located near a highway or loud area
  • If the home is located near empty storefronts or a place where people and businesses are leaving
  • If the home is zoned for bad schools.
  • The neighbours don’t seem good.

Purchasing a home that is located in a safe area with good schools and close proximity to amenities will help its resale value and your quality of life on a daily basis.

  1. Is the house in good condition?

Unless you’re purchasing  with the intention to renovate, it’s very important to consider the overall condition of the home and its systems. Pay special attention to the bones of the house – not just the cosmetic features. The condition of the roof, electrical wiring and plumbing systems are particularly important. Also, make sure to ask the sellers how old the systems are and when they were last replaced. Finally, whatever you do, don’t skip a home inspection when buying a house for the first time.