House hunting season is in full swing, and whether you’re browsing the market for the first time or making a big life change, you need to know a few things to land the best deal. Before you sign a purchase agreement, here are five things you should consider about how buying a house will impact you for the long term. There are also some practical moving tips included to make your transition into your new home a breeze.
Review Your Valuable Assets
A lot of homeowners think about how long they have to pay for their mortgage and little else. But owning a home is a major financial achievement. You have the chance to build equity, which is the difference between how much you owe on your mortgage and what your home is worth. You may wonder whether it’s worth it to keep certain major investments like life insurance if you already have a home and intend to raise its value. Don’t rush to get rid of other sources of financial security. Your life insurance is worth more than you might realize, and you have no obligation to sell by checking out its valuation online right now. A life settlement can get you more cash later on, and it’s equally important to consider the span of all your other potential investments before you put a mortgage in the mix.
You Have the Freedom to Negotiate
Closing contracts are not one-and-done. You don’t have to automatically agree to terms or timeframes you’re uncomfortable with just to close the deal. You’re allowed to negotiate factors like the inspection, move-in date and more. Working with a professional real estate agent is recommended because they know how to get you the best out of every step in the home buying process. They listen to your desires, concerns and needs to strike a balance that leaves both buyer and seller happy.
You’ll Need an Exit Plan if You’re an Unmarried Couple
Many modern couples buy a house together before they tie the knot, but this is also a risk that you shouldn’t take lightly. Even if you’re engaged and planning your happily ever after, things happen, and there’s a difference legally between sharing a home with someone you’re married to and someone you’re just in a long-term relationship with. You’re liable for this asset with the other person, and you both need to have a contingency plan in place. If you decide to part ways, who keeps the house? Who’s responsible for the mortgage? Are you both willing to sell or do you want to share the home? Make sure you discuss all of these what-ifs before moving in together and don’t sign any dotted lines until you’re 100-percent confident.
Kids Need Time to Adjust
It might be good to familiarize your children with their new home through photos and even neighborhood tours before move-in day. Even if they’re not thrilled at first, don’t take it too personally. Moving is a big change for kids, and most will come around to their new abode in a few weeks. But you can make moving less scary by including them in the process. Read books about moving, write a story about their favorite stuffed animal moving to a new home and pack together. Don’t think that little kids won’t be affected by changing houses, either. Even in preschool, they’re highly susceptible to change and need to have security about what’s going to happen next.