Coming up with a budget before you buy a home lets you find a place to live that you’ll appreciate every day – and that doesn’t put undue stress on your finances. Calculating your monthly payments is a smart place to begin.

                 But you also should earmark funds for additional expenses such as property taxes, utilities and maintenance. Such costs are ongoing, so you’ll need to be prepared to pay them as long as you live in your home.

                To see how home payments will fit into your finances over time, it’s important to take into account how your overall expenses and income could modify in the future.

GOOD OPTIONS

                You may decide to buy with an adjustable-rate mortgage if you think your income will increase in the next few years, or that you’ll move again before your home loan resets. Having a financial plan lets you proceed confidently.

                Money matters also will affect the home and property you select. And understanding your homeownership priorities helps you navigate through a maze of tradeoffs.

                Is living in a particular neighborhood crucial to you? Or would you rather have a larger home a few miles away?

               Don’t forget that you’re choosing more than just a home when purchasing. Also think about how your living needs will change before you’re ready to move again, and look for a home which can accommodate those.

                Another common decision concerns how old you’d like a residence to be. Newer homes may be in less-established neighborhoods, and often require longer work commutes.

                Some buyers want a house that’s totally up-to-date, while others prefer renovating an older property. Shopping for real estate starts with knowing what you want.

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