Buying a home especially if you are a first time homebuyer can be a daunting task. But dont get intimidated, just get informed. Here is a list of dos and donts to help make navigating the waters of home buying a little easier.
Get Pre-Approved. Talk with a mortgage lender and get pre-approved. Youll know what price range of houses you can afford and make the process that much faster. Plus, once you find a home you love, the seller will take your offer more seriously knowing that you are financially qualified to purchase it.
Look at several houses. Even if you think youve decided on the first home youve looked at, take a look at a few more similar homes to be sure. Compare prices, neighborhoods, amenities, features. You may miss a great deal or a wonderful home down the road if you immediately put your blinders up to every other house out there.
Investigate the Ongoing Costs of Home Ownership. The costs of owning a home dont stop at the mortgage. Make sure that you know what the expected monthly expenses are for utilities, heating, and annual property taxes as well and make sure to include them in your projected budget. It is also a good idea to have an emergency savings to cover unexpected maintenance such as boiler or water heater repairs.
Get informed! Follow the process of the purchase of your home. Your agent should keep you in the loop about anything new and let you know when inspections and test s are performed and the results and you should be asking questions about anything you dont understand. If a question comes up any other time, give them a call and ask them. They want you to feel comfortable with your home purchase and they understand that buying a home can be an intimidating process.
Find yourself a good buyers agent. He or she should be easy to talk to and take the time to listen to you and find out your needs and wants in a home. You want an agent who is knowledgeable and keeps you informed and up-to-date on the purchasing process. Ask friends or relatives for referrals on agents that theyve had good experiences with and go with someone that makes you feel comfortable.
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Expect to close on your home quickly. It is called the buying process because it is aprocess. Once an offer is made and accepted there are several tests and inspections that need to be conducted. If nothing is amiss and everything goes smoothly, generally you can close within 30 days. But each situation is different and it can sometimes take longer.
Skip the Home Inspection. Before purchasing what may be the biggest purchase of your life, make sure you know everything you can possibly know about it. A home inspection is the only way to do that. This gives you a report on the entire house from the foundation to the rafters and may turn up some issues you wouldnt have seen just by looking at it. It could save you tons of money in the long run if you catch a repair that can be done prior to closing. And if nothing else, it will at least give you peace of mind.
Increase your debt-to-income ratio prior to buying. Before you decide to buy and during the process keep your debt-to-income ratio as low as possible. This means no credit purchases of new vehicles or toys, no new credit cards, and no big charges on your usual credit cards. The banks look for this and the amount you are pre-approved for could drop.
Trust unrealistic, unsolicited loan offers through the mail or by email. The old saying goes, if its too good to be true, it probably is. You may receive offers of extremely low interest rates or a pre-qualification letter offering you double what you thought you would qualify for. These could end up costing you tons of grief in the end. When it comes to mortgage loans, you should work with someone you trust such as a local lending institution or your bank.
I hope this is helpful! If you are looking to buy a home, or even if you just have questions about buying a home, give Scott Rosenthal's office a call. We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. (907)460-9328