Buying a home can be one of the most important purchase decisions of your life. From choosing a structure with a well-built foundation, to selecting a neighborhood where you will feel safe and comfortable, there are many factors that should be considered before you make such a purchase. Luckily, your local bank is on your side to help you out!
Knowing how much money you’ll be charged in property taxes each year can help you budget for how much you should spend on your home. For instance, if you find a great, initial deal on your home and are ready to put in an offer, but didn’t know you’d be spending well over what you are used to spending per year in taxes, it can come as a shock! Property taxes are figured based on the value of the property (including the land), and are paid to your local county government for items such as water, sewer, and improvements to the local schools. The good news is that this tax can also be figured into your monthly house payment collected by the bank through a service called escrow. The bank will collect the amount of your approximate taxes over time, and then pay them out to the state when they are due. Talk to your mortgage lender about this service when you are ready to discuss your home loan.
The neighborhood surrounding you could also be a large factor in where you decide to set down your roots. Are you a young couple and want to be in an area with other young families and small kids all close in age? Do you want to live in the country with a few acres of land and enjoy the sound of nature? Would you rather live in the city for the convenience of being closer to restaurants and stores? Don’t be afraid to drive by, or ask around when researching your neighborhood. If you have children, see what it’s like after school lets out, or on the weekends. Since a home is a large purchase, you’ll want to make sure you are living in an area where you are happy.
If your career isn’t already in the location you will be buying a home in, how easy will it be to find another one if you need to? What’s the current job market like in your new town (or surrounding areas within driving distance)? Knowing a bit about the job market can also give you insight into if your property tax will rise over time. If you’re moving to an area where a lot of people want to be, then it will be great for your property value, but also mean that you’ll be paying more to live there.
Alongside checking out the local job market, also keep in mind what your commute times will be. How long will it take you to get to work in the morning, how many miles away is your job located, and how far of a drive is the local school? If you don’t already work from home, is this something you could do if you’d need to pick your kids up from school early and it’s a long drive? Commute times also give you an idea how much additional you’ll spend on fuel and vehicle maintenance each year, which is important to your overall budget. Airport commute times might be important as well if you travel a lot for your career.
If you have children, or are thinking of having them some day, you’ll want to scope out the local schools that your children will attend. How far away are the schools? What type of rating do they have for academics? What extracurricular events do they offer? You’ll want to make a list of everything that is important to you and your family when it comes to your child’s education, and make sure that the new school district is one you’ll be happy with before you relocate there.
HOA stands for Homeowners Association, and is typically a group of people in your neighborhood who work together to make sure that a group of rules set for the neighborhood are enforced. Individuals who move into the neighborhood are required to pay dues, which go toward helping to maintain upkeep of the area. As a new homeowner, you’ll want to find out if you are moving into a neighborhood with an active HOA and how much yearly dues will cost, along with what the specific rules for the property owners area. To learn more about what an HOA is and what it can do for you, click here.
Lifestyle also often plays a large role in where you relocate. If you are someone who enjoys golfing in your spare time and are used to playing weekly, you’ll naturally want to look for an area with a golf course within a reasonable driving distance. Quick and easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, and shopping might also be important to you. Create a list of what you’d like convenient access to so that you can make sure that your new home is located within driving distance.
At Guaranty Bank we know that buying a home is a very important decision, and we’d like to be there to help you every step of the way. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to one of our local mortgage officers for assistance.