A comprehensive guide to buying a dream home in Idaho

Learn how to get a great deal with the comprehensive guide to buying a dream home in Idaho. All you need to know from the beginning to the end.

A comprehensive guide to buying a dream home in Idaho

Buying a home is always exciting. If it's your first home, your feelings are probably through the roof. However, this means that you don't know what really is ahead of you, and there are many things to think about. Starting with the local economy and your financials, all the way to the housing market in the specific area of the Gem State you're considering. Well, this comprehensive guide to buying a dream home in Idaho is here to help you learn everything you need to know about the process.

Even if this is not your first home-buying experience, you can't know too much about home buying. Real estate markets are changing, and different things become more important. Therefore, if you inform yourself on time, you'll have an easier time navigating your choices, and choosing the right home won't be difficult at all. Here are all the steps you should take.

Evaluate your finance

If you're planning to take out a mortgage to buy a home, you need to understand all the buying options. And these depend on your financial situation.

Now, we won't go too deep into all assets of financial requirements, but here are the key takeaways:

  • Credit score - Although low credit loans exist, you'll need a score of at least 620 to get a conventional loan. 
  • Debt-to-income ratio - Generally, the rule of thumb is that you don't want to spend more than 36% of your income on debt. And this includes your future mortgage payments.
  • Down payment - You'll need a down payment of at least 20% for a conventional loan.
  • Closing costs - Expect to spend 2-5% of the home's price on the closing costs. Also, these usually have to be paid out of pocket, so don't forget about them. 
  • Cost of owning a home - An average annual homeowner maintenance costs in the US are about $2,500. This number, of course, can vary. But, you can plan to spend about 1% of the home value on repairs each year.

Additionally, if you're not living in Idaho currently, moving there will also cost you some money. Luckily, using a reliable and well-known moving company can save you lots of trouble when you want to start over in the Gem State. Just make sure to book your relocation well in advance and get an in-house estimate.

The first thing you want to do is sit down and calculate how much house you can afford

Find a good real estate agent in Idaho

Your main ally during the home buying process will be your real estate agent. Their main job is to find and show you houses in the area of your choosing. However, these people do much more. They can also recommend other services like lawyers, lenders, and private contractors. And honestly speaking, you'll need all of them.

There's a whole article about how to pick a real estate agent on our site, and we recommend you to read it. But, in essence, you want your agent to be experienced, have lots of transactions, and have good review scores. It's often smart to get someone specialized for a neighborhood you're thinking about, but that's not a necessary asset.

Know that you can go to showings with an agent before you sign a buyer's agency agreement. And this is a useful option as it is essentially a test drive with a relator. 

Choose the right neighborhood

Something you probably already know is that a home's neighborhood is as important as all the features it offers. And a comprehensive guide to buying a dream home in Idaho reminds us of that. To determine what area of any Idaho city is ideal for you, you need to consider a couple of factors. 

First, you should look at the average home values of a neighborhood. This will help you see if you can afford to live there, basically. Also, look at the historical trends in property appreciation. This factor is essential as it will give you a glimpse of what you can expect. It will show you if buying a house in the area will pay off in the future.

And the second thing is the local lifestyle. This is a thing that is often overlooked, but it can impact everything in your life. It can affect your daily commute to your kids' school and influence where you go to eat. So, you may want to move to a charming neighborhood with small houses and narrow streets, but that usually means that you have to rent storage and keep your possessions there. It's not a deal-breaker but is a thing to think about since it is an additional expense.

The neighborhood you choose will influence the way you live, so choose wisely.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Most sellers ask for a mortgage pre-approval letter to let you see their home. They don't want to waste their time with buyers who aren't serious, and there's nothing wrong with that.

The first thing to look for here is to get the lowest interest rate possible. Depending on your mortgage length, this can save you thousands of dollars. The next thing would be choosing a lender. Here, you can't go wrong if you choose a company with a proven record of happy customers. And finally, once you're pre-approved, you must be aware that any changes to your finances can void your pre-approval. So, make sure to be careful.

House hunt and make offers

House hunting has changed quite a bit during COVID-19. Nowadays, it's recommended to narrow down your options as much as you can via virtual tours. Additionally, ask showing agents what protocols are in place to protect your health, and inform yourself about remote closing options early.

On the other hand, viewing homes is the most fun part of the process. Here, pay attention not to mix your must-haves and nice-to-haves. Also, make sure to understand the current housing inventory. It can vary depending on the time of the year. But, since the Gem State market is a sellers' market, you should have plenty of options to choose from.

Follow the comprehensive guide to buying a dream home in Idaho and deal with as much of the process as you can online

Final walkthrough and closing

When one of your offers is accepted, all that is left is to close the deal. Do the final walkthrough of the property and ensure that everything is still in the expected condition. Be prepared to sign a lot of paperwork on this day. Your agent and lawyer will explain every document before closing, but if you still have any questions be sure to ask them.

You may be excited about finally getting to an end of the process, but make sure not to forget what you've learned in the comprehensive guide to buying a dream home in Idaho. This is a long involved process. But, if you follow all the steps, you won't have any problems with finding and securing the perfect home in your price range.