Buyer Tips

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M READY TO BUY A HOME?
You can find out by asking yourself some questions:

Do you have a steady source of income? Have you been employed on a regular basis for the last 2 years? Is your current income reliable? Do you have a good record of paying my bills? Do you have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments? Do you have money saved for a down payment or closing costs? Do you have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.

TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF BUYING A HOME
Start by thinking about your situation. Are you ready to buy a home? How much can you afford in a monthly mortgage payment? How much space do you need? What areas of town do you like? After you answer these questions, make a “To Do” list and start doing casual research on communitues and neighborhoods you may want to live in.

PURCHASING A HOME COMPARED WITH RENTING
The two don’t really compare at all. The one advantage of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits, and protect yourself against rent increases. Also, you may not be free to decorate without permission.

Owning a home has many benefits. When you make a mortgage payment, you are building equity. And that’s an investment. Owning a home also qualifies you for tax breaks that assist you in dealing with your new financial responsibilities- like insurance, real estate taxes, and upkeep- which can be substantial. But given the freedom, stability, and security of owning your own home, they are worth it.

WHAT’S THE MAXIMUM LOAN AMOUNT THAT I CAN AFFORD?
Your lender considers your debt-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your gross (pre-tax) income to housing and non-housing expenses. Non-housing expenses include such long-term debts as car or student loan payments, alimony, or child support. The lender also considers cash available for down payment and closing costs, credit history, etc. when determining your maximum loan amount and interest rate you will qualify for.

Looking for a new home

Looking for a new home

Your home should fit way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the whole family. Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities things like location and size. Should the house be close to certain schools? Your job? To public transportation? How large should the house be? What type of lot do you prefer? What kinds of amenities are you looking for? Establish a set of minimum requirements and a ‘wish list.” Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a “wish list” covers things that you’d like to have but aren’t essential.

Susan Waiste

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