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Guide to Buying a Home


If you are thinking of buying a new home, you must pay close attention to many details to ensure that you find one that will suit your needs and preferences. Before you start shopping, you should sit down with the members of your household to discuss your preferences and the many options available to you. Here are some things you should consider:

Step 1: Financing Your Home

The first step in the home buying process is determining how much you can afford.  To ensure that the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home.

Step 2: Prioritizing Most-Wanted Features

An easy way to organize your thoughts is to write each separate feature that you want on a 3X5 card, and arrange the cards in order of their importance to you. For instance, if you like to cook, you may want a home with a large, well-equipped kitchen. Or you may settle for a small kitchen, so that you can have extra space for a library, office or playroom.  Some home buyers seek large, open interior spaces, while others prefer traditional rooms that afford more privacy.

While looking for a home, consider whether your needs are likely to change over time. If you plan to add rooms, find out if there is enough space on your site for such expansion and whether such additions are permitted by your local jurisdiction.

Step 3: Selecting the Type of Home

Some home buyers prefer a single family home with a large yard, while others opt for a condominium or townhome where they can avoid yard maintenance entirely.

With a single-family home, you’ll be responsible for your own yard and home, but may be restricted to certain design elements or other regulations if there is a home owners association (HOA).

In a condominium or a townhome. You own the home, and in most cases you and your neighbors jointly own the common elements, and the condominium owners association is responsible for maintaining those elements. The day-to-day business of the complex is generally handled by a managing agency.

Step 4: Starting Your House Hunt

Now that you know the type of home and features you are looking for, and how much home you can afford, you’re ready to begin searching for your perfect home. Whether you use a realtor to find an existing home or work with a builder to buy a new home, you’ll be more focused with your search. If you need help navigating through the home-buying process, don’t hesitate to contact the JCBIA.

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