Maybe you’ve been tossing the idea around for a while, or have already been through the process—buying a home is always exciting, and an occasion to celebrate! The Realty Billings Team knows this process can also be a little intimidating, so we’re here to help walk you through it.
Owning property is a big investment for you, or you and your family. As a long-term asset that you can call your own, it can mean more than just a roof over your head—it provides stability, pride, and a whole lot of love. But how do you know if you’re ready?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Are you making more money, and expect your bank account to grow?
- Is your family getting bigger so you need more square footage?
- Are you tired of renting, or perhaps have tenants, and want a place of your own?
- What are the most important things you want in a property?
There’s a lot to think about. There are many one-time expenses that come with being a homeowner, along with monthly costs like maintenance and insurance, but being your own landlord is pretty great—take it from us!
Hold on—before you head out perusing neighborhoods and open houses (we know, it’s fun), you should get a few things ready.
In order to calculate what you can afford, it’s important to evaluate your finances. Break out the calculator and determine:
- Yours (and your partner’s) monthly income
- Any debts—student loans, credit card payments, furniture payments, etc.
- Other monthly bills
If your monthly debt payments exceed 40% of what you make, you should take a second look at what you can afford and whether buying a home is right for you. Also, your bills and housing costs shouldn’t be over 32% of your income.
Don’t put the calculator away quite yet. You’ll also need enough money to cover:
- Down payment
- Home inspection/appraisal
- Maintenance and repairs
- Taxes and HOA fees
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Move-in fees and costs
- Closing fees (if any)
So you can afford to buy—yay! Here comes the exciting step—shopping for your new digs. Once you’re ready to go with The Realty Billings Team, we have some extra tips for finding the right spot.
Wants vs. Needs
What are you looking for? What are the absolute MUSTS of your new place vs. the would-be-kinda-nice-to-haves—and everything between? To make the right decision for you and your family, it’s best to sit down and make a physical checklist of your dreamy wants and needs for your new place.
Generally speaking, a solid price range is your annual income multiplied by 2 or 3. This will get you started on places to look, but The Realty Billings Team can help you research different Billings area homes, school districts, and neighborhoods to narrow things down and find that perfect place.
Oh my, you found it—the perfect spot—and you are ready to make an offer! Congrats. We know the offer process can seem a little scary. No one wants to overpay, but you also don’t want to make an offer that’s too low, then risk the seller’s going with someone else. Finding that sweet spot is The Realty Billings Team’s specialty—our team is full of seasoned negotiators who will get you the best deal possible, and make the process smooth and informative.
Once they accept your offer (high-five!), there are still a few things we have to go through or check off the list. The Realty Billings Team will guide you through the different hoops—inspection, appraisal, mortgage, and down payment.
At the very end, once everything checks out, you’ll sign an HUD-1 form and do a final walk-through. Once your John Hancock is on every last line and the title has been transferred, it’s time for cheers—your new home is officially yours!