When it’s time to buy a home for your family, many people spend an extensive amount of time creating their “must have” list. For example, a family might want a certain amount of bedrooms or a large yard for entertaining. However, factoring in the expense and the time to ensure your family is safe and protected in your home is far more important than the type of countertops you install.
Here are three key ways to protect your family when buying a home:
1. Choose a Home You Can Afford
Financial security is the best type of security you could ever give your family. During the 2008 housing crisis, family after family lost their homes. In fact, research by Julia Issacs, a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and First Focus showed that “a total of 1.952 million children [were] estimated to be directly impacted by the mortgage crisis.”
The housing crisis occurred for numerous reasons but a large contributing factor of it was that banks gave loans to families who were not ready for homeownership. When housing prices dropped or couples started to experience balloon payments on their mortgages, many of them lost their homes and had to uproot their families.
Unexpectedly moving children from their home can lead to a variety of negative emotional consequences, and because of that, the best safeguard you can create for your family when buying a home is to be financially ready for it.
You can do that by creating a large down payment fund for your home purchase. Make sure you understand how to track your spending and create a detailed budget. Practice paying your mortgage payment to see how it affects your overall cash flow. Most importantly, make sure you are considering all costs related to buying a home like closing costs, insurance, and property taxes.
2. Get An Inspection
Many people know it’s important to get a home inspection, but definitely take the process a step further. Research home inspectors carefully, and choose one who has years of experience and who will allow you to accompany them on the inspection. When you go to the inspection, ask many, many questions about your home. You should also ask when they can issue you an inspection report before you hire them as you’ll want the report as soon a possible to be able to negotiate with the sellers.
Essentially, don’t choose a home inspector just because they are affordable or are available on a particular day. Choose them because of their work history and the positive reviews they’ve received in the past. It will be worth the expense if they catch a major problem with your new home that could have affected your family’s safety or if you can rest easy knowing that you’re buying a home that will be a great investment for the future.
3. Have Adequate Insurance
When your purchase a home, it’s important to have adequate insurance. This might include extra types of insurance, like flood insurance, depending on the area where you live. Insurance is certainly something you should buy for your home, and not only that, but you should buy adequate coverage. A qualified insurance agent can help you know how much insurance you need depending on your comfort level and the age of your home. Insurance also protects you from other incidents, like if someone is hurt while working on your home and sues you.
Thus, along with having a financial cushion and a safe home (which you’ll determine with a home inspection), having adequate insurance is the last step to making sure your family is well taken care of if an emergency happens.
Catherine Alford is the go-to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor for Personal Finance in 2014, she has written for Yahoo Finance, U.S. News and World Report, The Huffington Post, Kiplinger, Investopedia, Business Insider and many more. Catherine is the founder of personal finance blog BudgetBlonde.com and is the innovator of the web course, Get Paid to Write for Blogs.
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