When the time comes that you want to buy a home rather than sign your next year's rental lease, you can start looking for a home and calculating how much you can afford. Working with a real estate agent is a great start and a helpful method to ensure you find success during your search, negotiations, and closing. Here are some recommendations to help you find and buy the right single-family house.

Consider Homeownership Costs

When you have decided to buy a house, you will need to plan for the costs to purchase the home and also the costs that come along with homeownership. Look for a down payment that you can pay at the closing of your home, as many home prices have increased and mortgage loans are more likely to require a down payment of at least three to five percent.

In addition to saving for a down payment, closing costs, and an earnest money deposit, be sure you can afford your mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, and all the other maintenance costs. Be sure you are prepared for maintenance costs to cover repairs to essential appliances and systems in your home. For example, if your home water heater dies out shortly after you move in, you will need the funds to replace it and have access to hot water in your home. And when you buy a home, you will need to pay for landscaping and water costs to keep the property maintained. 

If the home you buy has a plumbing leak or clog, make sure you can repair the plumbing. Ignoring or putting off these types of repairs and problems will cause your home's value to decline over time and can cause additional damage which will put your home in worse condition and leave you with more expensive repairs.

Research the Area

Before you choose a home to buy and put an offer to purchase it, you should thoroughly research the area, including the neighborhood it is located in and the area surrounding the subdivision. Find out what type of area surrounds the home, such as if there are any commercial areas surrounding the neighborhood or if there are additional subdivisions in the surrounding vicinity. 

Look for other items that may deter you from choosing a home in a specific location. For example, check if there is a nearby city landfill or a railroad track that runs nearby. 

Complete a drive report on the area to help you find out what type of illegal activity and crime occur in the area. You can find this information at the local police station.