Ron Lieber at the New York Times has put together seven sensible tips that can help you find a first time home that you can both afford and enjoy living in.
You should click through to read the detailed list, including some reasoning behind these tips, but here’s a quick summary:
- “Start with the basics.” Approach your first home purchase conservatively.
- “Consider your income.”
- “Bow to unknowns.” We’re talking starting a family, or realizing in 5 years that you never wanted the career you’re currently in and need to switch paths.
- “Map out expenses.” A lot of home buyers are stunned by the annual cost of maintenance.
- “Buy best (or cheapest).” If you can’t afford the ideal home, it’s better to go cheap and save up rather than settle for a mediocre substitute that will drain your accounts while keeping you stuck in a home you don’t like.
- “Stretch the house.” The longer you live in one house, the longer you put off the expense of moving to a newer/bigger one.
- “The eight-hour rule.” If you can’t sleep at night due to worries about how to pay for the upcoming mortgage, you don’t need that mortgage.