Naples, Florida: 877-352-6404
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania: 215-542-7700

Real Estate Blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

 

By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home. Follow these steps to ensure your home search is fun and productive.

Most potential homebuyers are a smidge daunted by the fact that they’re about to agree to a hefty mortgage that they’ll be paying for the next few decades. The best way to relieve that anxiety is to be confident you’re purchasing the best home at a price you can afford with the most favorable financing. These seven steps will help you make smart decisions about your biggest purchase.

1. Decide how much home you can afford

Generally, you can afford a home priced 2 to 3 times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.

2. Develop your home wish list

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top-five must-haves and top-five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3. Select where you want to live

Make a list of your top-five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask your REALTOR® to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4. Start saving

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your downpayment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a downpayment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small downpayment preserves your savings for emergencies.

However, the lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your downpayment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.

Finally, if your downpayment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and downpayment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

5. Ask about all the costs before you sign

A downpayment is just one homebuying cost. Your REALTOR® can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area—including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.

6. Get your credit in order

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. Most require a minimum credit score of 620 for a home mortgage.

You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

7. Get prequalified

Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

For more information about the steps to buying a home, call Bristol Properties International in the surrounding Boca Raton area at 561-347-1303 or the surrounding Naples area at 239-352-6400.

Published: February 10, 2010 By: G. M. Filisko

Comments: 0
There are no comments for this post.
Post a comment below
LEAVE A COMMENT
 
Name
 
Email Address
 
URL
 
 
Comment
 
Captcha

Type the characters you see in the picture above.
 
 
< Back
Search by Map
Waterfront and Golf Communities
Foreclosure Search
Bristol Resources
Family of Services
What's my home Worth?
Mortgage Calculator and Rates
Investment and Commercial
Great Schools
Receive Email Alerts
Client Login
Bookmark This Site
Updated: Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Trend Alert: Pops of Red...
There was a time when red was the color of choice, and rooms were designed in Mediterranean ...

Solutions For Lack Of Storage ...
No matter how much we like our home in every other way, a lack of storage will always make u...

Labor Day Steals amp; Deals...
"With pumpkin beer on shelves and discount stores behaving as if its already Black Friday, n...

Copyright ©2014Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved

Home Owners Keep PMI Deduction and Short Sale Tax Benefit
  Home owners win two important tax benefits in the fiscal cliff deal. The fiscal...

You Might Face Tax-Filing Delay This Year
Congress’s down-to-the-wire fiscal cliff deal on tax changes, which included some...

Condo Rules and Regulations, HOAs, and Your Holiday Displays
 Option 2: You might get a letter asking you to take down your decor. Option 3:...