What Is Involved In Buying A Home?
Buying a home is one of the major events in life. This is true whether it is your first time or if you are an old pro and have bought and sold several houses. Having an agent that you can trust and who is knowledgeable is vital. You and your agent will likely be spending many hours finding listings, looking at houses, and imagining your furniture and your family in the homes you visit. An agent who is very familiar with the areas and towns that interest you will give you an edge in finding out where you will ultimately want to settle.
Start Your Research Early
Winter is the best time to begin. Although many listings will not come on the market until spring, there is a lot you can do to get ready. A nice sunny day is a great time to drive around the area and see the many streets and downtown in context. What types of restaurants can you find that are to your taste? Are there shops where you can imagine yourself shopping? Is there a great dog park nearby to take your best friend? What is the commute like to your place of business?
Determine How Much House You Can Afford
Lenders generally recommend that people look for homes that cost no more than three to five times their annual household income if the home buyers plan to make a 20% down payment and have a moderate amount of other debt.
You should make this determination based on your own financial situation. What does a monthly payment look like in the context of your other expenses? Are there expenses that might enter your life in the next several years? Do you plan to start a family? Are your teens going to be going off to college soon? Buying a house asks you to think into the future as well as imaging where and how you want to live now.
Get Prequalified And Preapproved For Credit For Your Mortgage
Before you start looking for a home, you will need to know how much you can actually spend. The best way to do that is to get prequalified for a mortgage. To get prequalified, you just need to provide some financial information to your mortgage banker, such as your income and the amount of savings and investments you have. Your lender will review this information and tell you how much they can lend you. This will tell you the price range of the homes you should be looking at. Later, you can get preapproved for credit, which involves providing your financial documents (W-2 statements, paycheck stubs, bank account statements, etc.) so your lender can verify your financial status and credit. We work with many local lenders and are happy to share names with you to find a great fit.
Shopping For Your Home
While it can have its degree of stress, touring homes can be both fun and extremely satisfying. Start touring homes in your price range. It might be helpful to take notes on all the homes you visit. You will probably see a lot of houses! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to take pictures or video to help you remember each home. Although the listing shows each room and the attic, basement and often the outdoors, you may want to remember that little corner near the hearth or the cute little shelves in the bathroom.
Make sure to check out the little details of each house. For example:
- Look out each of the windows and observe what the view is like. Is this what you want to see while sipping your coffee? When standing at the stove cooking your dinner do you see the woods, the gardens, the children’s playground?
- Listen. Are there traffic sounds? Do you hear children playing? Is that birdsong?
- Can you imagine your furniture in this living room? Are the bedrooms big enough?
- Test the plumbing by running the shower to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
- Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
- Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly
It’s also important to evaluate the neighborhood and make a note of things such as:
- Are the other homes on the block well maintained?
- Is there enough street parking for your family and visitors?
- Is it conveniently located near places of interest to you: schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation?
Take as much time as you need to find the right home. Then we can work to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood