Looking at buying a new house? Congratulations! It’s an exciting time.

Whether you’re buying your first home or you’re looking at buying a new home, here are 5 things you should consider:

1. It’s not just the mortgage payments

We’ve all been there before: you’re renting a house for $1000 or more per month, and you’re wondering why the hell you’re paying a stranger’s mortgage when you could be paying your own. I totally get it. But something to consider first: you won’t just be making mortgage payments.

There are a lot of expenses to think about when you’re buying a house. There are yearly property taxes, house insurance, mortgage insurance, garbage/water/strata/sewer bills, AND you’re the one in charge of fixing anything that breaks down. No more calling the landlord to come fix it. You have to pay the entire expense.

Of course, not dealing with a landlord is one of the perks of owning a house!

2. Don’t buy more than you can afford

Don’t let anyone talk you into buying more house than you can afford, and don’t buy a house at the highest end of your budget. Try to find something that you know you’ll be able to afford, even if the interest rates skyrocket.

Consider this: what if you lose your job? What if your partner loses theirs? If you’ll be at risk of losing your house if job lose occurs, then don’t buy something that expensive.

It can be really easy to get caught up in the excitement when you’re buying a home, but make sure you really think about how much you can truly afford.

3. Choose a realtor you trust

Make sure you find a realtor you trust. Ask the opinions of friends, family, coworkers, or look online.

When my partner and I first started looking, the first realtor we chose brought us to a house $100, 000 dollars over our budget. She insisted we just ‘had to see it’ and that it was perfect for us. Not only was it not perfect for us, but I felt like she only cared about making a commission off of us and didn’t care about our actual needs.

If you tell your realtor that you don’t want anything over a certain amount, and they insist on showing you houses only in the high end of your budget, then get a new realtor. It’s that simple.

4. You need less house than you think

It’s nice to have extra bedrooms and space, no arguments here! But when we looked for a house, I was under some crazed delusion that I needed at least a 3 bedroom house (for just the two of us), and I would’ve preferred 4. The crazy part is that we don’t plan on having a bunch of kids.

So why did I think I needed a great big house?

In the end, we bought a two-bedroom house. And I’m so glad I didn’t talk my partner into getting a bigger one. It would’ve meant more money for bills. Cleaning it would’ve taken way longer. I would’ve wanted to fill it with new furniture, costing us even more money.

The thing I’ve learned in the past few years is that we don’t need that stuff to be happy. I love our house. I love that it’s cozy and cute and perfect for the two of us and our pets.

Do you really need a gigantic house with 4+ bedrooms, or is it stemming from a place of materialism?

For me, it was materialism and thinking that I would somehow be happier with more stuff. But once my partner and I talked about what’s important to us, we realized money for travel was a high priority. If all our money was going into our house, we wouldn’t be able to travel. So we made an easy choice and picked a smaller house.

5. Renting out a room totally sucks

One thing my partner and I talked about was buying a big house and renting out some of the rooms (while we lived in it). In theory this is great. Someone else helps pay your mortgage while you go about living your life. Sounds awesome!

But in reality, renting out a room sucks. You don’t get the same privacy you would in your own home. You’re stuck cleaning up after them (I like a clean house). And you become the landlord you so desperately wanted to escape.

Again, if you’re thinking of buying a house and you’re banking on renting one or two of the rooms out, think long and hard about your future goals and plans and how having a roommate plays into them.

I hope these 5 tips gave you a little bit of insight into buying a home!

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