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  • Writer's pictureYour #1 Phan

Deciding Which Home to Buy

Buying a home can be a long-term commitment. Life keeps "life-ing," priorities will change. The home you buy should fit your budget, yet offer the size, features, amenities, and opportunities you want - whether now or later.


Your monthly payments should be comfortable for you to handle, in relationship to your total obligations, about 28% of gross monthly income. A good guideline is for your mortgage payment and your debts to not exceed 36% of your income, including revolving credit, student loans, and child support. You should also be in the correct loan for your needs. A fixed rate is more expensive, but offers more protection than an adjustable rate mortgage that can reset to a higher amount, making your monthly payments higher. Don't forget to consider the monthly operating costs of the home as well, including utilities, HOA fees, landscaping, commuting, and other costs.


Location is about convenience, and you'll pay a premium to be closer to work centers, parks, shopping and transportation. You can buy a smaller home or a home in need of updates to be closer. To get a larger home or more yard, you may have to move further away from core city centers and compromise on commuting time.


When considering potential homes, it's important to know the difference between what you need to have in your new home, and what you want to have. Use the needs list to begin narrowing your choices. While a balcony with a city view, hardwood floors, and eat-in kitchen can add to the enjoyment of your home, they might be of lower importance to you than a fenced backyard or an unfinished basement area that you can grow into. If you frequently work at home, you'll need a home office or at least a quiet designated workspace.

Make sure the home you choose allows room for you and your goals. Talk to your lender and see what you can qualify to buy, then talk with Your #1 Phan about the home you have in mind. With professional guidance, you should be able to find and buy the home of your dreams, where you'll be happy for a long time to come.

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