The Home Buying Roadmap
Deciding To Buy
What are your personal reasons?
Do you need more room for a growing family, or want to move closer to work or schools? Make a list and think it through; it’s a good way to balance out the financial factors in your decision.
How long do you plan to own this home?
You may be better off renting if you expect to move or get transferred within two years. Calculate if you should rent or buy?
Do you have enough cash for a down payment, closing and moving costs?
For a $100,000 home with a 20 percent down payment, you may need less than $25,000. Calculate how much you can afford.
Can you afford to carry a monthly mortgage and still pay your bills?
A mortgage should take no more than one third of your net income. Budget to buy and determine how much your payments will be. If you’re carrying extra debt, take steps to reduce it .
Do you need the tax break?
Many homeowners rely on tax deductions as a budget necessity–and one way to accumulate savings. Tax Help for Homeowners guide fully explains home ownership and your taxes.
Put Your Finances in Order
Get pre-approved for a loan so that you’ll know exactly what you can afford to buy.
It pays to get organized
Start a Home-Buying File- if you keep your records in one place, you can get organized in a few hours. Start a file for papers, sales brochures and other information you’ll accumulate, including: Credit data, Loan Documents, Real Estate Listings, Inspection Reports, and Insurance information.
Shop for a House
Work with an Agent
Find an agent that understands your priorities and needs.
Take a checklist of Questions to Ask When You See the House
Get all the information you need to compare and contrast later. A beautiful Victorian may be a favorite until you revisit your notes and discover it needs new plumbing and wiring.
Make an Offer
Do Your Research
Current market conditions- The more demand there is for housing, the more you can expect to pay. Prices of comparable homes sold in the area recently – The range varies, so get up-to-date figures. Current value of the home – Work with your agent to get a list of recent sales of similar properties in the neighborhood. The seller’s motivation – In cases such as divorce or relocation, the seller may settle for a lower price in exchange for a quicker sale.
Prepare Your Offer
Always make an offer within your ability to pay. It will usually strengthen your offer if you include a letter of pre-approval from your lender.
Get a Loan
Submit your records
Interest rates vary over timer. If interest rates are low at the time you are buying, you may want to ask your lender lock-in that low rate.
Chose a Loan
There are a number of option for the type of loan you choose. Research the different types of loans to decide which one fits your situation the best. Additionally, it may be beneficial to look into special loans that are limited to certain groups of people, like first time home buyers or veterans.
Get an Inspection
During this time, it is often best to get the house inspected. In fact many lenders require it. The inspector can tell you the exact condition of the house and what must be repaired. Be sure to hire a licensed inspector and remember that it may be worth the extra money to get an experienced inspector since buying a home is such a large investment.
Get a CLUE Report
Clue Reports will tell you if the property has had any insurance claims filed in the last 5 years. It will tell you the amount of the claim, the type of claim filed, and the risk of the property.
Close the Deal
Set a Closing Date
The closing date is when you sign the papers and receive the key to your new home. Schedule a day that fits into your moving schedule.
Get an estimate of the closing cost from your lender. You can usually expect it to cost between 2-7% of the home’s value. Also don’t forget to arrange for home owners insurance.
Take one final walkthrough to make sure all of the contingencies of the home’s condition were met. If the inspector pointed out a leak that the seller agreed to fix, make sure it was fixed during this walkthrough.
A Few Final Concerns
Don’t forget to turn your utilities on and plan out your moving date so that everything runs smoothly.