1 HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M READY TO BUY A HOUSE?
You can find out by asking yourself some questions:
- Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)?
- Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
- Do I have a good record of paying my bills?
- Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments?
- Do I have money saved for a down payment?
- Do I 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 house.
2. HOW DO I BEGIN THE PROCESS OF BUYING A HOUSE?
Start by thinking about your situation. Are you ready to buy a house? How much can you afford in a monthly mortgage payment? How much space do you need? What areas of town do you like? At RealEstateLatino.com we can help you start the process and guide you until you close on your new home.
3. HOW DOES THE LENDER DECIDE THE MAXIMUM LOAN AMOUNT THAT CAN AFFORD?
The 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.
According to the FHA, monthly mortgage payments should be no more than 29% of gross income, while the mortgage payment, combined with non-housing expenses, 4 should total no more than 41% of income. The lender also considers cash available for down payment and closing costs, credit history, etc. when determining your maximum loan amount.
4. WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN DECIDING ON A COMMUNITY?
Select a community that will allow you to best live your daily life. Many people choose communities based on schools.
Do you want access to shopping and public transportation? Is access to local facilities like libraries and museums important to you? Or do you prefer the peace and quiet of a rural community? When you find places that you like, talk to people that live there. They know the most about the area and will be your future neighbors. More than anything, you want a neighborhood where you feel comfortable in.
5. HOW CAN I FIND OUT HOW MUCH house ARE SELLING FOR IN CERTAIN COMMUNITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS?
Your real estate agent can give you a ballpark figure by showing you comparable listings. If you are working with a REALTOR, they may have access to comparable sales maintained on a database. If you are not currently working with a real estate agent, RealEstateLatinoc.com can help you find a trusted advisor. Look under our directory or just send us an email.
6. WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN WALKING THROUGH A HOUSE?
In addition to comparing the house to your minimum requirement and wish lists, use the HUD house Scorecard and consider the following:
- Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
- Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Is the house structurally sound?
- Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
- Is the yard big enough?
- Do you like the floor plan?
Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space? (Bring a tape measure to better answer these questions.)
Does anything need to repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair or replace the items?
Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will you be happy with it year-round?
Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each house from a professional standpoint.
7. HOW MANY houses SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING ONE?
There isn't a set number of houses you should see before you decide. Visit as many as it takes to find the one you want. On average, house buyers see 15 houses before choosing one. Just be sure to communicate often with your real estate agent about everything you're looking for. It will help avoid wasting your time.
8. DO I NEED TO BE THERE FOR THE INSPECTION?
It's not required, but it's a good idea. Following the inspection, the house inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also an opportunity to hear an objective opinion on the house you'd I like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general, maintenance questions.
9. DO I REALLY NEED HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE?
Yes. A paid homeowner’s insurance policy (or a paid receipt for one) is required at closing, so arrangements will have to be made prior to that day. Plus, involving the insurance agent early in the house buying process can save you money. Insurance agents are a great resource for information on house safety and they can give tips on how to keep insurance premiums low.
10. WHAT OTHER ISSUES SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE I BUY MY HOUSE?
Always check to see if the house is in a low-lying area, in a high-risk area for natural disasters (like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.), or in a hazardous materials area. Be sure the house meets building codes. Also consider local zoning laws, which could affect remodeling or making an addition in the future. Your real estate agent should be able to help you with these questions.
Remember you can always count on RealEstateLatino.com to guide you to your home.
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