Do Your Homework
If getting married is the most exciting thing you've ever done and having a child the most emotional, then buying a house will be the most challenging. Not only will you be putting yourselves into major debt for decades, you will be influencing the character and personality of your family for years to come. Friendships, educational opportunities, available medical care, and the chance to achieve in sports and other endeavors are only some of the areas affected by where a family chooses to live.
Some prefer the rarefied air of the country, where children can explore nature firsthand, catching frogs in nearby ponds and picking wildflowers in open fields. Others consider the sophistication of the city the ultimate living experience. Close proximity to museums, theater, and cultural centers is important to them.
Before you call real estate agents, do some investigating on your own. An accountant or bank loan officer can help you determine how much house you can afford. Where that house will be requires more thought and research.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Will this be the house where your children will spend all of their formative years, or do you anticipate another move in two or three years?
- Do your career plans include a change of employers in the near future?
- By how many will your family grow while you live in this house (including live-in grandparents)?
- How close do you want to live to the extended family or to work? (Shorter commuting time translates into more family time.)
Your answers to these questions should narrow down your options. While the cost of the property and its taxes will greatly influence your final decision, there are other important considerations.