Buying or building
You have decided that owning a home is right for you. Now you need to decide whether you want to buy one – or whether you will build.
If you have the construction knowledge and the heart for it, in addition to easy access to supplies and labor, you can consider building your new home.
It may be less expensive than buying and you can tailor your home to your needs and taste. So you can get more house for your money and the type of house you want, built to your standards.
On the other hand, buying an existing home allows you to move in quickly and to take advantage of the features that are already there. You may be able to modify them to get the house that you desire without spending months on construction. In addition, you should not need to have any specialised knowledge about construction or have to take on the worries associated with building to purchase an established house.
Whether you build or buy, it may make sense to spend on a (relatively) conventional property, since your special taste may not be that of others if it came to selling it.
Buying your first house
You have decided that buying a house is right for you and your family at this time. Here are some steps that can help you to reach that goal:
Determine a realistic price range for the house, insurance, furnishing, etc. based on what you want and what you can afford. This would involve calculating your net worth and ascertaining how much you can borrow, if you need financing.
Knowing beforehand how much you can afford prevents you from exceeding your budget and helps to speed the process along once you find your house.
Before you start looking at homes, look at neighborhoods. Schools and other services play a large part in making a neighborhood attractive. Even if you don’t have children, your future buyer may. Crime rates and transportation are other things to consider. Finally, find out about and any covenants. You may want to modify the house or you may want to run a business out of your home.
Go out and look for your home yourself, even if you hire a real estate agent. You can drive around hunting down ‘For Sale’ signs and look through advertisements or even call the bank to find out about foreclosures.
When you find the house that looks right:
- Have a qualified engineer evaluate the property including the structure, plumbing and wiring, to identify any problems
- Understand why the owner(s) want to sell.
- Talk to the neighbours.
You need to be sure that you will be happy living with your purchase.
Once you are satisfied, you can make an offer. How much you offer should be based on:
- How much you have
- Market conditions
- Market value of the house.
To protect yourself you may want to add certain contingencies to your offer. Allow a real estate agent and a lawyer to help you with this.
Once the owner(s) accept your offer you must pay for your house and close the deal. Your lawyer or escrow company can help you complete the transaction. Make sure that the owners have made promised repairs. Note that the date of closing can be crucial to your tax situation so discuss this detail with your lawyer or LashleyAdvisor.
Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a house – your house! Now you can begin moving house.
Let your lawyer educate you on the tax laws and legal requirements as they apply to sale and purchase of property.
Building your home
Some people want their house to be uniquely theirs. They want to have their personal touch on it from start to finish. If you are one of these people, here is how you can go about building your home.
As with buying, determine a realistic price range for the house, insurance, furnishing, etc. based on what you want and what you can afford. This would involve calculating your net worth and ascertaining how much you can borrow if you need financing.
However, this is even more important, because of challenges and cost-overruns often experienced in building – you do not want to run into difficulty and have a mortgage and an unfinished house.
As your next move, you can find your plot of land. You can drive around looking for new land sub-divisions, vacant land, look through advertisements or hire a real estate agent.
Before you buy, let a professional assess the land. You need to be mindful of soil conditions, drainage, zoning restrictions. Also, consider the neighborhood and location.
Next, a qualified architect, working along with surveyors and engineers, can help you to get your dream from your head and onto paper. They help you chose construction materials and also make sure your house is compliant with building codes and is safe for you. When dreaming up your house, remember to take family growth, room additions and other future needs into account.
Assemble your team but before any stone is moved, however, protect yourself. Let your lawyer draw up a building contract between you and your contractor.
Now you can enjoy watching your house grow from the first brick to the last bolt. Consider moving in when your house is soon to be completed (once it is safe to do so) and avoid or minimize rent as you build.