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Housing: Bigger Doesn't Necessarily Mean Better

Over the past fifteen years, home ownership in America has grown like never before. The combination of low mortgage rates and higher incomes has meant that home ownership has created wealth where it never has before. What's more, owning a home is a goal that is worth achieving. In your own home, you can raise your family safe in the knowledge that you own the roof over your head.

A Crazy Market

Unfortunately, the resurgence of home ownership has led to massive increases in property values, and thus, pricing. For most people, it may be the largest transaction they take part in during their lifetime. Which points us to a critical lesson which must be understood from moment one: you should only buy a house that you definitely can afford. Attempting to buy a house that you have to break your back to pay for will cause problems from the get-go. Missed payments can cause your credit to be damaged, and with mortgage an all-consuming priority, it isn't long before your credit becomes a real problem. So, in order to avoid this, there are a few things you should be concerned about when looking for that first home.

Things To Consider When Looking For A Home When looking for a home, take a look at the market, and get a feel for the type of house you want, the amount of space you'll need, and your price range. This an important thing to do before you start looking to get approved for financing. Simply because, truthfully, lenders will typically grant approval for amounts that may be above your comfort level, with the idea that if you can't make the payments, they can retrieve the house. So ensure you know what you want before you approach a lender.

Another important point to consider is your current lifestyle and any future financial goals you have outside of buying a house. Typically, the approval amount you are offered will be very constraining, so if your lifestyle involves the spending of a lot of free cash, you should understand that you may have to change things in order to afford a house. The upper limit of your approval is a dangerous place to go, as going forward, your mortgage will always have to be the top priority, meaning retirement, travel, material possessions and other things in your life may have to be put on hold.

What Are The Things You Need?

When looking for a home, especially your first home, it is critical you be serious and buy something that is realistic to your income and lifestyle. So determining what you need in a house is critical - this may include, as an example, a large yard. Which is fine, as long as you understand that you may pay extra for the opportunity. The best way to determine what kind of house you would need is to start from the bottom - as in, determine what things in a house you definitely could not live without. Then, work your way up from there. Remember, this may not be your last house. So it need not be absolutely everything you want. It just needs to work for you.

Location - Is It Worth It?
Everyone has an "ideal" neighborhood that they deem to be the place they want to live. But beware of falling into the trap that sees you paying a lot more for an identical house in your "chosen neighborhood". In many cases, the benefits you perceive by living in the neighborhood of your choice may be small if invisible, meaning you just paid too much for the same house simply because of the street it is on.

Buying a house is possibly one of the most important decisions of your life. The fact is, you might want to ask some advice from friends or collegues who may have purchased a home recently. Resist asking the advice of a real estate agent - their job is to buy and sell homes, so they may not be as unbiased as they claim. Once you are confident you can get going with your house search, remember that the decisions you make today will affect you for some time to come. So if your "perfect" house looks like it could turn into real hardship in the future, it's best to walk on by. You'll be glad you did.

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