Aristotle once said that acquiring knowledge and practicing good philosophy begin with asking the right questions. Asking the right questions is also (naturally) hugely important for buying a home. If you ask the right questions, you’re far more likely to make the right decision for your unique situation. With that in mind, we offer these 5 questions to ask yourself when buying a home in Alameda County.
1. What are my real reasons for buying a home in Alameda County?
Before buying a home in Alameda County, you need to make an honest assessment of your motives and understand exactly why you want to buy a home. Many people, including a large portion of millennials, end up regretting their home purchase.
A 2019 report “revealed that 51% of millennials have regrets about purchasing their homes. Among their biggest regrets are that their monthly mortgage payments are too high, the house requires too much maintenance, and the house has depreciated too much in value since purchase.”
Assessing your reasons for buying a home in Alameda County before you buy can help you avoid such (very costly) buyer’s remorse. Your local agent can be a good resource here. Call (408) 893-1866 to find out more.
2. Can I actually afford to buy a home?
If you find that you’re buying a home in Alameda County for the right and justifiable reasons, you then need to make sure you can actually afford to buy a home. For the cost of buying a home goes far beyond the down payment and monthly mortgage payments.
With today’s tighter lending standards, you’ll likely need to come up with a pretty hefty down payment – 20% is recommended. You will also, of course, need to make sure you can comfortably make your monthly mortgage payments. In addition, you will need reserve cash for unexpected repairs and emergencies. And you have to factor in all the other costs of buying a home, such as:
- Closing costs
- Property taxes
- Homeowners insurance
- Private mortgage insurance
- Home maintenance
- HOA fees
3. How long will I live in the home?
When buying a home in Alameda County you need to think about how long you plan to live in the home. Basically, you should plan to live there for at least five years – until the housing market recovers and there’s far less risk of losing money on the purchase.
Here’s what industry pros advise: “The answer to this question may suddenly change due to circumstances in your life. But ideally, you should stay in your first home for at least three to five years before you move again. You usually need to stay that long to break even on the mortgage. If you know you will be transferring to a new area or will want to move to a larger home in a year, then it might be better to wait to buy a home. This delay will allow you to save up a larger down payment and may make it easier for you to afford the home you want.”
Keep in mind, too, that if you do plan to stay put for several years, the home and neighborhood should have everything you need to be happy and comfortable throughout those years. Again, your local agent can help you make this determination.
4. What was the outcome of the inspection?
Certainly, you’ll want to have an inspection before buying a home in Alameda County. And you need to read the inspection report carefully to see exactly what the inspection turned up. Basically, you need to know whether the home passed the inspection.
“Before you buy,” experts say, “make sure the home passes all inspections. This step will keep you from running into any costly surprises once you purchase the house. It’s worth the money to pay for a thorough inspection because it can help you find out if you’ll have to pay for costly repairs. What’s included in a home inspection can vary depending on where you live, so make sure you get clear on that before hiring someone.”
Its always a good idea to include an inspection contingency in the purchase contract to protect yourself just in case. Such a contingency will allow you the option to “cancel the sale or negotiate repairs if the house does not pass inspection.” And make sure your agent knows how to craft water-tight contingencies.
5. Do I have the right real estate agent?
This may be the most important question to ask yourself when buying a home in Alameda County because so much else depends on the answer. Having the right agent will make the whole process of finding, negotiating for, and buying a house much smoother and more efficient. It’s absolutely critical, then, that you do your research and choose an agent carefully. And keep in mind that you’re entering into a business relationship with your agent, so you have to make sure that not only is she qualified, but also the two of you are compatible. Find out today how our agents can assist you. Give us a call at (408) 893-1866 !