Preparing To Buy Your First Home In New Orleans

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New Orleans is becoming a hotspot for homebuyers. In Wallethub’s 2020 Best Real Estate Markets report, New Orleans ranked as the 58th best large city to buy a house. This makes it perfect for first-time buyers who are looking for the bustle of city living. Filled with a thriving small business economy, the popular Mardi Gras floats and festival, and a bustling entertainment scene, the city of New Orleans has long been known for its unique mix of culture, entertainment and history. However, if you are a first time home buyer in the area, it helps to know a few key things before heading into the house hunting process.

Find The Best Areas For Your Needs

Picking the right area when house hunting not only impacts the price you pay; it influences the quality of life and the cost of living for your household after moving in. When house hunting and assessing a neighborhood, consider factors like affordability, aesthetics, and proximity to goods and services like schools, transport and stores. For your research, utilize neighborhood ranking websites like and’s Best Places to Buy a House in the New Orleans Area can also provide some useful insight by providing information on the residents and the amenities in the area. According to its current rankings, South Vacherie, Mont, and Des Allemands lead the list for housing, schools and family life.

Get Ready For The Financial Process Of House Hunting

Home financing is a key consideration for any homebuyer. House prices have been rising in New Orleans recently. According to the New Orleans Metropolitan Realtors Association, the supply of houses put on the market dropped to 40 percent while demand held up, which, in turn, has driven house prices upwards in the past year. For the metro area, the price of a single-family home now averages $287,000. Some parishes like the Orleans parish surpassed this, with the average price topping $382,000. 

Most homebuyers will need a mortgage to finance their first homes. To prepare for the mortgage application process, homebuyers should have two years of tax returns, bank statements, and a comprehensive list of any outstanding debts. Before you apply for a mortgage, it is helpful to calculate payments using a mortgage calculator, estimated selling price, current interest rates, and your intended home deposit. This helps you pinpoint affordability and compare the different kinds of mortgage loans available, such as conventional loans or the FHA loan scheme. You may qualify for a housing loan provided by the government called the USDA loan. You can look at the USDA map to see which areas in New Orleans are eligible under this program.

Don’t Forget To Add In Unique Costs For New Orleans Homes

While all homeowners should remember to account for supplementary costs of buying a home, there are a few unique costs that come with owning a home in New Orleans. While the city has rebuilt and is more prepared for floods and hurricanes post-Katrina, homeowners in the area still face an increased risk. Therefore, securing a solid home flood insurance policy is critical for homeowners in New Orleans. The cost of flood insurance averages $726 for the year, but the amount you will pay will depend on the location of your home and its proximity to high-risk flood zones.

Another cost to account for is the removal and inspection for termites. Wood-eating termites are prevalent in New Orleans, and can wreak havoc for homeowners who are not aware. In addition to increasing mold and mildew, termites can damage your home’s structural integrity – a hefty bill for homeowners. When booking a home inspection, be sure to request a termite inspection before making an offer. Doing your due diligence now can save you a lot of money and heartache down the road.

Homeowners should also decide on the kind of home they see themselves in. New Orleans is filled with a healthy mixture of historic, older homes and new builds. Each kind comes with its own set of drawbacks and perks. Buying your first home in New Orleans can be the start of an exciting chapter in your life – filled with rich culture, celebrations and history. Just be sure to head into it prepared.

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