Buying a home: home mortgage considerations and more

Whether you're purchasing your first house, moving to a larger space, downsizing, or considering a second home or cabin, buying a new home is often both a financial goal and a major event in your life. A house is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make and one you'll probably live with (and in) for years to come. Our home buying tips  will help you get started.

Begin the home buying process

First, consider the features that are important to you, including the neighborhood, size and style of home, quality of schools, property taxes and proximity to shopping and work. Next, determine how much house you can comfortably afford and consider how your expenses will change with home ownership.

Investigate financing and home mortgage options

  • Order your credit report and check it for errors
  • Evaluate the amount you'll need for a down payment
  • Compare various home mortgage terms and rates and consider which type of mortgage will work best for you. Mortgages are generally available with fixed or adjustable rates and terms of 15 to 30 years.
  • Obtain prequalification or preapproval for a mortgage

Understand the benefits of using a real estate agent

An agent can guide you through the process of buying a home and may make it easier in many ways. For instance, a real estate agent can generally:

  • Help you determine your housing needs
  • Show you homes and neighborhoods in your price range
  • Suggest financing sources and techniques
  • Prepare purchase offers
  • Negotiate for you
  • Recommend resources you may need such as home mortgage brokers, title companies or inspectors
  • Give you an honest appraisal of the homes you're considering
  • Arrange details of the closing once the seller has accepted your offer

Some agents may charge for these services, so you may want to first ask to discuss any potential fees. 

Take into account other financial considerations for buying a home

Once you’ve decided on a home to purchase, a financial advisor can help you address more complex financial questions that you may encounter:

  • Will your home purchase have any impact on your other financial goals? Do you need to make adjustments to your financial plan?
  • What type of insurance might you need on the property? Have you estimated your premium for homeowners and flood insurance?
  • If you’re going to live in the home as your primary residence, do you understand the tax benefits of home ownership?
  • Will you be using your home for business? If so, you might be eligible for a home office tax benefit.
  • Do you have any property ownership issues that need to be addressed such as sole ownership or tenancy in common?
  • Do you need to review or update your estate plan?

Are you ready to make the move?

An Ameriprise financial advisor can assist you with many of these home-buying details, and help you stay on track to achieve your other financial goals, too.