A Practical Guide to Buying Your First Family House

A place to create beautiful memories while bringing up their children is a dream almost all families share. The idea of having a place that you can call your own is undeniably a drive that pushes many couples to work hard. But choosing a forever home means more than just looking at the facade. There are many factors to consider before making this life-changing decision, and here, we will cover some of them.

Down Payment and Mortgage

First and foremost, you have to make sure that you can pay the down payment, which is 20% of the property’s total price. Down payments are paid in cash and, in some instances, are non-refundable. The good thing is, the higher the down payment, the lower the interest payments are on loan.

Down payment is also your contribution to the purchase when applying for a house mortgage. You provide it, and then the lender will take care of the remaining balance. Though 20% is the standard down-payment rate, you can lower it based on the type of mortgage. Three examples are:

  • USDA Loans — Supported by the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program, USDA loans do not require any down-payment. Their loans are primarily for suburban house buyers that can meet the program’s income limits.
  • FHA Loans — FHA loans are supported by the Federal Housing Administration and only requires a minimum down-payment of 3.5%
  • VA Loans — Backed by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, VA Loans do not need any down-payment. This type of loan is available to active and veteran military service members and their eligible spouses.

Neighborhood

Now that your finances are squared out, the next step in the process is choosing a neighborhood. Moving with children and moving on your own or with a partner are two very different things. This difference significantly affects one’s overall decision. For example, young couples typically live near the central business district where they are near their jobs. At the same time, families usually choose neighborhoods near a school, hospital, or sources of leisure like parks.

The price of the property also varies depending on its location. Houses near the metro are comparably higher because it’s near essential amenities while those situated on the outskirts of town are cheaper. Safety is also an important aspect when choosing an area to live in. Even if you have the basic layer of protection like home alarm systems, it is still essential to choose a place where the crime rate is low.

family sitting on a couch

Size of the House

Big houses are suitable for big families who need enough room and space for their children. Some families prefer living in apartment buildings or condominiums if it means they are near the city. The median house price in the United States is around USD340,000 for a house that is more than 2,500 square feet.

The typical size that many families consider is no less than 2,200 square feet, but you can also consider a home with a floor area of 1,800 square feet. The need for space also depends on how big your family is but the ideal square feet per person is 600-700. That gives us an average of 1,800 to 2,100 square feet for a family of three, while a family of four can fit in a house that has 2,400 to 2,800 square feet

In addition, a study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders shows that around 65% of buyers prefer a single-story home while 29% prefer a two-story house.

House Features and Amenities

Aside from the common areas of the house like the living room and bedrooms, the garage is also an essential factor that many house buyers tend to take for granted. A typical family owns two cars, and when choosing a home, you have to consider one that can fit at least two vehicles.

A small house is considered cheaper to maintain in utilities like electricity, gas, heating, and air conditioning. In a US Census, new homes boast several features like:

  • Air conditioning — 93% of the total houses
  • Patio, Deck, and Porch — 92% of all houses
  • Partial or Full Basement — 25% of the total houses
  • Gas as the primary fuel for heating — 60% of all houses
  • Three or more bedrooms — 36% of the total houses
  • Four or more bedrooms — 45% of all houses

Other essential home features that house buyers look for nowadays are laundry rooms, storage space, hardwood floors, exterior and interior lighting, walk-in pantries, and energy efficiency.

Having a family home is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that your family has a roof above their heads and a place they can call their own. This guide is just the beginning, and may you find it helpful when choosing a place your hearts can call ‘home.’

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