There are many things to look at when deciding to buy a home. In addition to determining what you can afford (start with our mortgage calculator) and what type of loan works best for your personal situation, there are multiple factors to consider before you start your search. Before you start looking for a home, ask yourself these three basic questions.

How long are you going to live in the area? While home values fluctuate, most experts agree that you should plan on owning a home for at least five years so you can recoup your investment. No one can predict the housing market and while the price of your home may literally increase overnight, it should be looked at as a long-term investment.

With that said, if a sudden job change or other unforeseen circumstances do require you to move out of a home you’ve recently purchased, they do not mean that your investment has been wasted.

When the need to move arises suddenly, many home owners choose to rent their home at a cost that covers their existing mortgage payment and expenses.

Home ownership helps build equity and also can provide you with tax incentives, so for many, renting out their home in the event of an unexpected move is a smart choice.

Will the home meet your needs now and in the future? Depending on your age and place in life, there is the chance your needs in a home will change over time.

Many people in the early stages of starting a family opt to buy homes in areas with a high level of walkability and local convenience, as opposed to an abundance of space or a large yard. As their children begin to grow, they often decide to sell or rent their home and then move toward more suburban areas where they can afford a larger piece of property or into home that is located within a highly-rated school district.

Do-it-yourselfers and people with outdoor hobbies will probably need a garage or want extra storage space to hold their tools and recreational equipment. Amateur chefs and Food Network fans tend to desire modern kitchens and dining rooms suitable for entertaining large parties.

Keep in mind that purchasing a home does not obligate you to live in it for the rest of your life. Many seniors and people nearing retirement wind up selling the homes they’ve raised families in and moving to active adult communities where the homes require less maintenance and come with easy access to facilities such as a community pool or other recreational areas.

Again, as your needs change, you can sell your home to recoup your investment or rent it out to provide you with additional income.

Have you considered the new trend with fixer uppers? The term “fixer upper” can turn many potential buyers off when they’re looking to purchase a home, but it shouldn’t!

Those who do not consider themselves handy or think their budget won’t accommodate extensive renovations should consider looking into renovation lending, one of the fastest growing categories of mortgage programs currently available.

Renovation lending, which refers to mortgage products such as FHA 203(k) and Fannie Mae HomeStyle Loans, allow for the purchase of a home with additional funds allocated for upgrades and repairs.

These mortgages tend to be of particular interest to younger, first-time buyers, who are able to find affordable homes in the desirable locations, but often lacking in terms of appearance or features.

Renovation mortgages can finance almost any type of home improvement imaginable, including roof work, painting, kitchen remodels, backyard decks and the installation of a pool. Repairs to these homes can be completed after the closing process, which in turn avoids appraisal issues that may otherwise hold up the closing process.

To make the process as easy as possible for the home buyer, as well as the contractors involved, HomeBridge has a unique Renovation Concierge Service that supervises the entire process and facilitates payments so everything stays on track.

A consultation with a mortgage professional is always free and there is never an obligation to work with us when you do decide to buy a home.

Your HomeBridge Loan Originator is always ready to help you find – and finance – your next home.

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