2019 New Home Resolutions
A CHECKLIST FOR CHOOSING A HOME THAT LASTS
The New Year is a great time to set goals for improving your life. Whether the goal is to lose weight, to stop smoking, or to start a new career, it’s the season to set positive intentions and turn last year’s “would have, should have, could have” to “Yes! This year, I am going to!”
So, What’s on Your New Year’s Agenda?
Do you have a New Year’s resolution to buy a place to call your own, that dream home you have always wanted? Well, the year 2019 is a great time to consider building or buying a custom new home that meets your needs…and dreams. If your goal for 2019 is to become the proud owner of a new home, we’ve got the checklist to help you invest wisely.
#1: GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A LOAN FIRST
Before you start looking at floorplans or speaking with contractors, you need to know your buying power. This means going through a financial review and getting approval from a lender for a specific amount. This will save you the disappointment of looking at homes outside of your price range. It also shows you’re serious about making a purchase.
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#2: RESEARCH FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
There are many programs available that help you become a homeowner faster. Each program has different qualifications you need to meet, so do your homework. You might be surprised to learn you could qualify. As a Texas resident, consider looking at www.TxHomePrograms.org as one potential option.
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#3: BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
In addition to the amount the bank approves, you need to factor in how much you can spend on a monthly mortgage payment. This means thinking about other expenses, such as how much money you need to live on each week for things like groceries, entertainment, and other necessities.
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#4: KNOW WHEN TO SPLURGE AND WHEN TO SAVE
One thing to watch is the upgrade costs as you build your home. Be sure to ask about the base price and how much additional features will add to your total price. You want to weigh the value of upgraded fixtures and flooring options to how long they will last. In other words, will the extra money you spend save you down the road from having to replace, say, a carpet or floor that wears faster, but costs less initially?
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#5: DON’T JUST GO FOR CODE—GO FOR BETTER THAN CODE
Just because a house is built to code doesn’t mean it will have the best performance. Homes built using basic building codes are often less efficient to operate and more costly to maintain. In addition, minimum construction quality could invite issues like dust and mold that will make you sick. So work with a BUILT TO SAVE™ (BTS) or ENERGY STAR® builder. These contractors will build above code, ensuring your home will save you significant money in energy costs. For example, a BTS builder will consider cooling options that work in the Coastal Bend area. This includes having a right-sized air conditioning system, windows, and exteriors that protect against heat gain, and so on.
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#6: ESTIMATE RESALE VALUE
Take a look not only at the value of your home as you purchase it, but at what comparable homes by this contractor are selling for on the resale market. If possible, visit a house built by a company you are interested in that’s up for sale to get an idea of how well the workmanship holds up after the home has been lived in for a while. Remember that homes with energy certifications like BTS generally provide a higher resale value.
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#7: CHOOSE THE RIGHT COMMUNITY
In addition to building a home to meet your needs, how do you choose a community in which you want to build? There are many points to consider:
Lot Size: Is the homesite large enough to accommodate your house plans?
What’s Nearby: How close is this location to your workplace? How good are the schools? Can you get to shopping districts, hospitals, and other places easily?
What Does the Community Offer: Is there a community center or pool? How about parks and recreational activities?
Homeowner Association Costs: How much are the fees for being a member of the community? What do they cover? Will this fit into your budget? Check out our new New Home Communities on page 37 where we break down all of these factors and more to help you quickly identify the right development for your new home.
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#8: HAVE YOUR HOME INSPECTED BY A PROFESSIONAL
Hiring an independent professional home inspector has saved many from moving into a home that has substandard workmanship. It is much better to have someone who advocates for your best interests to evaluate your home carefully and point out features that need to be fixed before you close the contract. Once you’ve signed, any existing issues will become your problems to fix.
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Hopefully, the checklist here will make it easy for you to realize your new home in the New Year. Use it to ready yourself for finally making the dream of a brand new home a reality. Because, yes, this year, 2019, you are going to buy a home!