Deciding to buy a home is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your life, so we've put together a list of five important things to consider before you begin the home buying process. From financial planning to determining which home features are necessities and what are just desires, these questions will help you prepare.

1. Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

Before you take the big leap into homeownership, make sure you’re ready! Purchasing a home is a large financial commitment. Make sure you're in a position to commit by considering the present and the future.

Are you prepared for the new financial responsibilities? Review your budget, credit score and debt history in advance. Do you have plans for your household to grow in the near future? Settle on the size of the home you will be looking for. Are you ready to take on maintenance responsibilities like lawncare and repairs? Make sure to factor these items into your costs and know what you are and are not willing to repair if a house has some issues. Do you plan to stay in the area long-term? Think about if you see yourself moving in the next couple of years, either due to a job or life change. These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself first as you decide if homeownership is right for you

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2. Where Do You Want to Live?

Think about your future. It's important to have an idea of where you want your new home to be. If you are new to the area, you might be renting at first and will become more familiar with the surroundings over time. To have a better idea of your perfect home location, here are some things to consider:

3. What Do You Need vs. Want?

Make a list of what you need in a home and what you want in a home. Your needs should come first during your home buying process. Do you or someone in your household need a floor plan for easier mobility? Do you need space for a home office because you work from home? Do you need outdoor and indoor space for your pets? Once you have found what you need in a new home, whether it’s more storage or split bedrooms, you can focus on what you want. Keep in mind, you may be able to add features you want or upgrade them later down the road.

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4. How Much Home Can You Afford?

As you're preparing to purchase your dream home, look over your budget to decide how comfortable you will be covering a monthly home payment and other costs. Come up with a reasonable amount you can afford to pay each month for your home. Make sure to include your other monthly expenses like home insurance, taxes, utilities and living expenses, and plan to still have some left over for your savings. You’ll also want to consider initial costs, such as closing costs, moving fees and furnishing your home with new or more furniture and any appliances not already included.

5. How Much Do You Need to Save For a Down Payment?

The down payment needed for a home loan can vary based on purchase price and loan programs. It's a good idea to start setting some money aside each month to go toward your down payment and any closing costs. Also, make sure to check with your lender about the different financing options available and what it requires to begin your home purchase. You can also look at your state’s down payment assistance programs and their requirements.

Now that you have an idea of some of the most important things to know before buying a home, you can decide if you're ready to embrace all the freedoms, privileges and responsibilities that come along with homeownership. Whether you are on your home buying adventure or renting, just know that HomeFirst® Agency is always here to help you find insurance that fits your needs.

Read More to Find Out If Renting or Homeownership Is Right for You