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Step 2: Find Your Home and Don't Rush to Purchase

You may be in the house you buy for a long time. Therefore, be patient and take your time in deciding which house to purchase. Luke 21:19 offers wonderful advice for life (and buying a house, for that matter): “In your patience possess ye your souls.”

Estimate the amount of time you will be in the house. If it is less than three to five years, consider renting. Remember, you will have to make at least 7 percent on the selling price when you sell your house to break even from realtor’s fees alone; you must also consider how much you paid for other up-front fees. Buying a house will likely be the largest financial commitment you will make for a long time, so be wise.

I recommend that people who have just graduated from college should generally plan to rent a nice apartment for at least six to twelve months before they buy a house. This gives them the time they need to search thoroughly, figure out what they want, decide on the area where they want to live, and determine which amenities they want in a house and location.

Plan what you want, and then work your plan. First, make your plan for buying a house. Determine what is important to you: how much of a commute are you willing to endure? How important is it that your house is close to schools? Do you need a yard for your kids? Do you want a flat lot, or a lot on a hill? Write down which qualities you will and will not do without; articulate what you want regarding your desired location, type of home, future plans, and so on.

Once you have made your plan, you can start looking for a house. Look for a home in earnest but keep to your plan. There is nothing worse than getting so wrapped up in buying a home that you find out that a house wasn’t what you really wanted after you have bought it.

Buying a house is not easy. It takes time, thought, and effort. Find a good realtor to help you. Realtors most often work for the seller instead of for you, the buyer: the seller pays the realtor’s fees. It may be wise to hire a buyer’s realtor, who works for you. This buyer’s realtor should be someone who knows the ins and outs of the neighborhoods that you are interested in.

Take matters into your own hands. Talk to friends, neighbors, and others about buying a house. We bought our first house from someone in our ward in Arlington, Virginia, where we were renting. Use the Internet and any other available resources to help you as well. When we were looking for a house in Provo, Utah, we used the Internet every other week to see which new houses had been added to the market. We would then give our realtor a list of the houses we were interested in when we came in for our appointment.

Get others to help you in the process of buying a home. Remember, you can’t, and shouldn’t, do everything by yourself. Get a good appraiser who can help you make sure you don’t pay too much for a house. Get a good lawyer who can help you make sure you fill out the correct forms. Most importantly, get a good home inspector. The last thing you want to do is buy someone else’s problems. Use multiple home inspections if necessary. Don’t become emotionally attached to a potential house. The best thing you can do in many cases is to just walk away.

Stay true to your plan and have patience. You need to be flexible in case unexpected problems or opportunities arise.


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