I have had the opportunity to work with several first time home buyers, and I really enjoy it. I think sometimes we are so used to how everything is supposed to work, that maybe we don't do a good enough, or thorough enough job educating our buyers on what THEY need to know and understand. And, I guess, this will go for any home buyer. SO, I am sharing with you today, a little information that I pass along to all of my buyers and future buyers. This information is retrieved from a pamphlet offered by the National Association of Realtors.
10 Ways to Prepare for Home ownership
1.) Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income. I highly recommend talking with a lender immediately before beginning your home search. This will be your best resource in determining what you can afford.
2.) Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list
3.) Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you'd like to live in, taking into account items, such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans and safety.
4.) Start Saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify fir a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don't forget to factor in closing costs- including taxes, attorney's fees (if needed) and transfer fees. This is usually an average of 3%-4% for the Moses Lake area.
5.) Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts and any late payments. All of these will affect whether or not you can get a loan, along with your interest rate.
6.) Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of a mortgage do you qualify for? Also explore different loan options - such as 30 or 15 year fixed mortgages or ARM's and decide what is best for you.
7.) Get pre-approved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to pre-approve you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
8.) Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your lender to learn more about all of these options.
9.) Calculate the costs of home ownership. This is something that hardly anyone thinks of and it can really affect your monthly bills. These costs should include not just your mortgage payments, but property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees if applicable.
10.) Contact a REALTOR. Find an experienced REALTOR who can help guide you through the home buying process at no charge to you.
I hope this helps... watch for information on why you should own your own home, common home buying mistakes, taking the stress out of home buying and MORE.