At Mills Custom Homes, we understand that before our clients consider building their own new house, first, they are thinking about what it takes to buy a house in the Iowa City IA, area. In order to help you find the best house for your family, we offer these tips to help you stay on target and find complete satisfaction with your ultimate purchase.
Set Your Budget
Financial experts recommend that before you begin visiting open houses or model homes, you should nail down your budget for your new home. When buying a house, your target monthly payment for the mortgage should be no more than 28 percent of your income.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye on your total debt ratio and spend no more than 36 percent of your monthly income on all debt, including rotating credit, car loans and student loans. You will need enough cash left over for utilities, food, clothing and other recurring expenses.
Select a Location
Once you have a good grasp as to what your budget allows for buying a house, it’s time to decide on your location. If commuting is your primary consideration, look for a home near major highways. If you have children in school, is the house near their elementary or middle school? Perhaps you want to limit your time in a car running daily errands. Consider where shopping centers are located as well as hospitals, the dentist office, supermarkets and even veterinary services.
Determine Your Preferred Home Style
After you have selected your budget and narrowed down the general area you wish to consider for buying a house, it’s time to think about the style of your new home. You might only be considering the appearance of your dream house, but it’s also wise to take its function into account.
- Single-floor living: The ranch style was very popular during the Mid-Century building boom. Now, many contemporary homes offer the convenience of living without stairs.
- Open-floor concept: It is possible to find homes with a connected living / dining / kitchen area built in almost any era with proper refurbishment. However, this desirable floor plan is often found in new builds.
- Farmhouse: Many homes built on farms during the past century include a large front porch, four or five bedrooms, and a familiar collection of windows facing the street. The look and style can be achieved in a new build without dealing with the constant repairs an older home demands.
- Upstairs / downstairs: For those who prefer the bedrooms to be on a different floor from the entertaining areas of the home, you might want to consider a Craftsman- or Colonial-style home.
At Mills Custom Homes, we work hard to incorporate the appeal of traditional homes with the technology and modern approach to living in a contemporary house that appeals to our current clientele.
Home Maintenance and HOAs
Another item to think about when buying a house is how much yard do you want to maintain? More and more homebuyers are looking for more manageable yards without the extra effort and time that large acreage can demand.
- Large Family / Large Yard: You will be hunting for a single-family home in a neighborhood with at least a 1/3 of an acre for the yard. You will most likely not be buying a house with a homeowners’ association. There will be minimal neighborhood amenities like pools, community centers or playgrounds.
- Gated Community: Some families prefer that somebody else take care of most of the landscaping and desire more extras included with their HOA fees. The house will have a small grassy area around it that you may or may not have to mow. The HOA may offer a communal pool, gym, guest parking, security and neighborhood activities.
- Duplex or a Mix of Both: You can often find a duplex that stands alone from other homes with its own HOA. This means that you only have to work with one neighbor to take care of the exterior of the home. There is less politics involved, but more personal effort is required to keep it neat and maintained.
New Construction vs. an Established Home
At Mills Custom Homes, we understand that not everyone interested in buying a house really wants to purchase a new build. Older homes may offer that elusive charm associated with unique woodwork, aged hardwood floors and mature landscaping. However, new builds offer their own set of perks:
- Large open living spaces
- Spacious closets
- Modern appliances and bathrooms
- Connected garages
- Ability to personalize the plan
When you fall in love with a house, take the time to consider exactly what it is that appeals to you about it and determine if the house fits with your budget, location and lifestyle.
Consult With a Custom Home Builder
We encourage every potential homebuyer looking to buy a house in Iowa City, IA, to consult with us at Mills Custom Homes. We offer floor plans that can be completely personalized to your preferences while keeping your target budget in mind. Many people are surprised at how affordable a custom home can be when they select a home with an average square footage of 2,200 and finishes that are approachable and functional. We take every effort to make every client feel comfortable with the process.
For those seeking their dream home with all of the amenities they desire, we are positioned to deliver with floor plans that include five bedrooms, five baths, three-car garages and chef-quality kitchens. Walk-in closets, master suites, in-law apartments and private office suites all can be included.
If you are interested in more information about buying a house or customizing an existing home, give us a call at Mills Custom Homes. We look forward to the opportunity of working with you and creating the perfect space for you and your family.