After a year of spending more time than ever at home due to a global pandemic, it could be that you’re thinking it’s time for an upgrade. If buying your first home is on your mind, you’ll be in good company as across the United States there is a trend toward people taking the leap to buy. It might seem overwhelming to think about the finances related to buying your first home and especially saving for it. There are some strategies to follow to make this process easier. Here is some real estate advice for first-timers to help set you up for success.
Visualize your dream
To set a target for how much home you can afford, you need to know your priorities, and visualize your ideal home. Do you need two bathrooms and an extra room for a home office? What about a chef-ready kitchen and space for your dog to run around in the backyard? If you dream big it will be easier to pare that dream down to a realistic picture of your next home. Once you have a list of must haves, you can research homes in your ideal neighborhoods to see the price range and how much you should budget saving. Be realistic about your home, but also think about the amenities you need to be comfortable now and in the future.
Do your research
Now that you have your dream home in mind, it’s time to see how much it might cost you. Before you even hire an expert to shed some light on top agent insights about the market, you can get a general picture of the market in your area. Markets can vary by county, and your best bet is to check out a site like Zillow that can give you a general idea of how much home you can afford. Keep in mind that these numbers can change, and you’ll want to watch them closely, especially if buying is a long-term plan.
Watch the market
Across the United States, Covid-19’s impact on real estate has created what agents are calling a demand shortage, meaning that there are more buyers than homes available on the market. This is why it’s even more important to watch the market to see how it might shift home prices, so you can shift your savings goal accordingly.
Focus on small savings
With a general picture of how much your home will cost you, you can set a dollar amount for saving and a general idea of how long it will take you to hit that target. Start small by cutting back on extras like dining out, and monthly subscriptions. You may find that the pandemic has made it easier to get in the habit of saving with more time spent at home, and less time on vacations and dining out. You can set aside a separate savings account just for your new home and automatically put a set dollar amount there every month to make it even easier to hit that savings target.
Whatever your dream home looks like, saving for it is possible by setting up a plan, following it, and watching the market for major shifts.