Thinking of buying your first home? It’s a big decision no doubt. And the reasons for doing so can be many and varied. Maybe it’s financial, personal, or even emotional… Nevertheless, you want to make an informed, well thought out decision. Sometimes our best intentions don’t do the job though. Not a month goes by that, in working with a buyer, what is intended (after hours of rational thought and deliberation) is a far cry from what actually happens. I.E. the person seeking an 1800 SF 3/2 single-family home in a quaint neighborhood ends up buying a new condo in an urban setting.
Now, I’m a few years removed from my first home purchase, but can still remember the
anxiety excitement that came with buying that property. So, this post is an effort to help you reign in your emotions, fears, and worries and walk away from the home buying process knowing that you did the right thing!
(Don’t want to read? Then click: Just take me to the list!)
Does It Make Sense Financially?
The first step is in determining whether or not a home purchase is a sound financial decision. This seems obvious, but may not always be the case. You might be in the area for a short time, thus the closing costs associated with buying and selling would rule out the idea. The amount of time you’re going to stay is just one piece of information among many that need to be considered. If you’re the analytical type then I’d suggest heading over to the NY Times site to check out their Rent versus Buy calculator. It’s pretty exhaustive. If you feel like you need more data after filtering through all of the options there… Then you might have a problem 🙂
After doing your preliminary homework then it’s time to call a mortgage broker or loan officer. If you need a good reference then send me a message and I’d be happy to provide that.
There’s no need to “shop” mortgage options yet. Just get your pre-approval done and then shop around once you have a home under contract.
There are a few primary categories of information to consider when it comes to making a decision…
What Else Should You Consider?
The intent with the items below isn’t to answer every question you have in your mind. Rather, since this is your first time, it’s primary aim is to make sure you’re asking yourself the right question. Maybe you want an older home in an established community but failed to scout out the closest grocery store before purchasing. Now you have to haul your crew halfway across town every time you need a gallon of milk.
For our purposes we’re going to assume that you’re looking in the $150k-$300k. This means that your monthly payment is probably going to range from $1,000 per month up to $2,500 per month depending on the rate, terms and loan amount.
Type of Dwelling
With a condominium you own from the drywall in. The rest of the building and surrounding property is owned collectively by the individual unit owners. For example, if there are 300 units in a complex, you own a 1/300th interest in the common areas of the complex.
Some townhomes look like condos, and vice versa. The difference is, you own the exterior of the building and parcel with a townhome.
This is the typical house and yard that you think of when you say “home.”
In order to get financing for your primary residence you’ll have to stay below 4 units. But, buying a multi-family property as your first home can be a great “house hack,” helping you save money and build equity fast.
What do you like to do? Are you an runner, like going to coffee shops and getting work done, need a park for the kids close by? Take time to assess what’s important and what’s not.
Here’s a link to a previous post on the subject of Schools in Jacksonville, FL. Below is a map of both the Duval county and St Johns county schools.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has a really good crime stats map that you can use here: Crime Statistics Map
Here is a crime map for St Johns county, but it’s not linked to the St Johns county sheriff’s office that I can tell, so not sure about it’s accuracy.
First Time Buyer Benefits
Here are a few links to assistance programs for first time home buyers. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
Riverside (including Avondale)
Southside (including Intracoastal West)
Personally, I like neighborhoods that are strategically located near primary highways (JTB, I-95, I-295, etc.) but are tucked away so that it feels like home. I don’t like traffic, which around rush hour in Jacksonville is hard to avoid. Typically I favor newer construction because there is less maintenance involved. Communities that are well thought out with natural trees and vegetation are good. Amenities (community pool, clubhouse, etc.) are a good thing, but overpaying for them is not. There are a few exceptions below, but for the most part these ‘hoods strike a good balance between cost and amenities provided.
I think you get a lot of “Bang for your Buck” in these specific neighborhoods.
Originally posted 2015-05-30 09:58:07.