Congratulations on your decision to purchase a home! Now that you have decided to buy a home, the hard work of becoming an informed homebuyer begins.
Luckily for you, homebuyers today have more information than ever at their fingertips. These tools will help you in your quest to become an informed homebuyer.
Start the Homebuyer Education Process
Before you can feel comfortable with the biggest purchase of your life, you need to know rights and what steps you are going to have to go through to purchase your home. There are many places to start this process, but one suggestion is going to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at HUD.gov.
Here you can learn about your rights, options, and other tips. Friends and family can be helpful and would not purposely lead you in the wrong direction, but it is important to educate yourself.
Learn the process and the terms that are used in purchasing a home, such as escrow, compound interest, etc. Information is power and the more information you have the more powerful and comfortable you will feel with the home buying process.
Set Your Budget
It is a good idea to turn this step into two steps. First you need to contact a loan officer to see what information you will need to provide in order to learn how much a mortgage company will lend you to purchase a home.
After you meet with the loan officer and have the number you need to start the second step. The second step is determining how much you are comfortable borrowing and making monthly payments on.
Remember that you will be the one making the monthly payments, not the loan officer. For example you might qualify for a mortgage of $200,000, but if you only feel comfortable with monthly payments on a $175,000 mortgage, stick to your guns and keep your budget at $175,000.
Determine the Area You Want to Live in
In real estate they like to say, “location is everything.” There is a reason for that. You want to pick an area that works for you and your family, not for someone else.
Are you looking for a good school district? Do you want to live near water? Are crime rates the biggest factor in where you want to live? Are you looking for an area with above average home prices? These are for you to determine.
Websites like areavibes.com and localniche.com, among many others, are great for gathering information about particular areas, but don’t forget to do the legwork yourself and drive through your desired areas. Take a drive through the areas on different days of the week and at different times. It will give you a good overview of the neighborhood.
Create Your Plan Together
You are well on your way to buying your home. Now put the information together and find the homes that meet your criteria. Keep in mind that with the proper information and hard work in gathering information, you will not just be buying a house to live in; you will be buying your home.