Read This Before You Make The Leap To Homeownership
Buying your first home is a big deal. Excitement aside, there is lots of preparation to do and many things to consider before you make the transition from renter to homeowner. Keep reading for tips and advice on how to walk this road without wandering astray.
Before you reach out to a real estate agent, it’s best to ask yourself if you are really ready for homeownership. Architectural Digest asserts that your best bet is to pursue a home purchase only if you plan to be at the same place for at least five years. You’ll also want to take an in-depth look at your finances to make sure you can afford the expense.
Owning a home costs more than just the monthly mortgage — you have to pay to maintain it and keep the lights on, too. And, like when you apply for rent, your mortgage lender will want to know that you can comfortably afford your mortgage payment. To do this, they look at many factors, including your income, debt-to-income ratio, and credit history, which can quickly get your mortgage application rejected, and the property itself.
Just as your lender will look at the value of the home, you also have to consider the type of property you plan to purchase. This is because some loans are better suited to certain properties and buyers. A rural housing loan, for example, may be used by low-income buyers to purchase a certain type of dwelling in a rural area. First-time buyers with little money down may want to opt for an FHA loan, which requires a lower credit score than a conventional loan.
A Narrow Path
Once you have answered the questions of whether you are ready to own a home, and if you can afford it, you can start the house hunting process. Get ready, because this can actually get overwhelming quickly. You can reduce stress and anxiety by narrowing down your selections based on your finances and needs.
In addition to price, The House Designers says to keep your search focused on homes that have the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. If you like to cook, avoid houses with tiny kitchens. Pay close attention to location, and get familiar with local school zone maps – never assume that your house is zoned for the school you desire just because it’s close.
As you filter your search, there will be fewer homes to choose from, but that means you can focus your attention on properties that are more likely to work. Another tip: talk to your spouse or partner before making your priorities list. You may find that you have wildly different ideas on the type of house you want, and it’s best to come to a compromise before you drive yourself crazy taking turns looking at houses that one of you despises.
In Order And Ready To Sign
Now you’ve found a house that everyone loves, the hard work can begin. With your down payment in-hand, it’s time to make an offer. The real estate climate can help you determine whether you want to offer asking price, less, or more. Your realtor can also help you look at the home and comparable properties to make a fair and objective offer.
When your offer is accepted, things will move quickly. You’ll have a home inspection, appraisal, and will be in constant touch with your mortgage lender. There may be some back and forth, especially if issues are found with the property or if it appraises for less than you’ve offered.
It usually takes between four and eight weeks to get to closing day, which is when you pay your part of closing costs and take possession of your new home.
Your realtor is the best person to help you through the process, which may be smooth sailing or a bumpy road, depending on your credit and homes available in your area. Careful preparation is the key to success. The above advice can get you started and will hopefully give you a few things to think about before you take the plunge.
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