What House is Best for You?
When considering purchasing residential property you have several selections to choose from. They consist of the most common single family home, townhouses, condos and multi family buildings with 2 – 4 units. Depending on what you’re looking for in a property you’ll find that each type of property do have their benefits and pitfalls. It’s a good idea to consider these pros and cons before you choose a property so that you understand what you’re getting into.
Tip: By choosing a fixer upper you can save thousands of dollars and allow you to give the property your own flare and design. Keep in mind that the amount of time, sweat equity and money involved to turn a fixer-upper into your dream home might be much more than you bargained for.
2.What Are You Looking for In a Home?
probably the #1 problem that people searching for homes struggle with is trying to find the absolutely perfect home by checking all the boxes on their wish list. Since this will most likely be the biggest purchase of your life, it’s understandable that you want a house that checks off all your needs as well as wants.
To save yourself a lot of hassle and disappointment it is important to be flexible during this part of the house hunting. Your list should include basic desires, like neighborhood and size, all the way down to smaller details like bathroom layout and a kitchen that comes with trust-worthy appliances.
3. How Much House Can You Afford? Getting Pre-Approved for a Loan
The first thing you should do before you even begin the house hunting process is get pre-approved for a mortgage so that you know exactly how much house you can afford. This will ensure you that you don’t waste your time searching for houses a lender won’t qualify you for.
You may think you can afford a $300,000 home, but lenders may think you’re only good for $200,000 depending on factors like how much other debt you have, your monthly income and how long you’ve been at your current job.
4. But Can You Actually Afford It?
It’s one thing to get pre-approved for a loan for a certain amount but another story being able to actually pay for the house and all the other costs associated with home ownership. Things like how much down payment you can afford, how high the property taxes are in your chosen neighborhood, how much insurance will cost, how much you anticipate spending to maintain or improve the house, and how much your closing costs will be.
5.Hire an Agent
One of the best assets you can have during your search for a house is a real estate agent. A real estate agent will assist you with finding a home that satisfy your needs and price range. A good agent will do most of the leg work for you by researching new listings and can also find properties that have not yet been listed that may give you an advantage at having first dibs at the property.
Once you’ve chosen a home to buy, these professionals can assist you in negotiating the entire purchase process, including making an offer, getting a loan, and completing paperwork. Hiring a good agent can save you a lot of time and headaches and help protect you from any pitfalls that may arise. Like any other profession there are good agents and terrible agents, so be sure to do your research and look around and ask for references from friends, family, or colleagues until you find an agent your happy with.
The House Buying Process
Now that you have decided on a house that you can’t live without it’s time for the real fun part of the whole house buying process to begin. You can expect this part to be a little stressful with all the offers and counter offers going back and forth, but if you did your homework and are prepared for the hassle of dealing with various real estate professionals and tedious paperwork then you should fair pretty well. Here is the basic progression you can expect:
1) Find a Home
Finding a home isn’t always going to be easy so make sure you use every resource you have available to you for digging up homes currently on the market or that will soon become available on the market. You can search listings online, hire a real estate agent, drive around neighborhoods, and ask friends, family or colleagues if they know of any homes that may be for sell. You never know where a good reference or lead on a home might come from.
2) Consider Financing Options and Secure Financing
If you are a first time home buyer just know that you will have a wide variety of options that will help you buy a home. One popular way option is getting a federally back loan such as a VA loan, if you are a veteran, that can help home buyers that don’t have the minimum 20% down payment get into a house.
There may also be local programs in your community that can assist you with your home purchase. Your mortgage interest rate will also have a major impact on the total price you pay for your home, so shop around.