Guide To Home Buying

Buying a house is the largest ourchase most families make. Understanding how the real estate market works will help you make a good investment.

A home purchase is the single largest buy made by most families. Research and study the location, costs, and other facts before entering into a transaction to insure the money you invest today is there tomorrow when you decide to sell.

Buying real estate requires an educational process about subjects you may not have experience with. Renting buffers you from the need to know real estate details, but if you want to own your own, learn what makes a real estate purchase safe and satisfying. Consider these suggestions when you decide to become a homeowner:

Seek a real estate professional.

Visit a real estate agent in the area you like. You do not have to sign an agreement with that agent. The desire of an agent to help you is often the sign of a good professional. Ask questions about lending rules, estimated closing costs, and payments including all add-ins like taxes, assessments and insurance. Do not feel embarrassed. All homebuyers endure this first-time experience, and real estate agents are accustomed to providing answers. Talk to more than one agent until you decide on the location, and until you find an agent that makes you feel comfortable. Collect lots of written information including contract samples to study later.

Talk to a mortgage company or banker.

If you do not understand financing, go to a bank or lender and ask for someone to explain the details of real estate loans. Once again, a professional will discuss the facts with you without any obligation. Pick up pamphlets and other printed material to take home to read while relaxed.

Study the newspaper and brochures of sales and listings.

Read the weekly sales listings in local publications. This not only gives you an idea of the cost of housing, but it also helps you become familiar with terminology.

More general questions to ask:

Should the house be inspected and who pays the cost, buyer or seller?

Will a new survey be performed and who pays the cost?

Who will insure that the title is clear and marketable and who pays the cost?

What closing costs are expected? Ask for a list and an estimate.

Some costs are dependent upon the area, the style house, and the history of the community. These expenses can vary, so be smart and ask more questions. Some additional people to visit are these:

Insurance agent.

Ask the agent the difference in homeowner coverage for different parts of town and in different communities. Ask about crime rates and response time for fire. Inquire about the range of rates to insure brick versus siding, slab versus crawl space, young versus old property, and gas versus electric appliances. A good agent will explain how various factors can adjust your rate, which can be a costly expense you did not expect.

Utility company.

Contact the utility company and ask the average rate for the age home, style home and energy-equipped home you are considering. They can give you pointers to look for in your prospective home. Or ask for copies of the utility bills for any homes you seriously like. Most owners do not mind.

School district.

If you have children in public school, contact the local school district and inquire about bus schedules, school locations, start times, etc.

Tax consultant.

Home buying can aid your income tax posture and provide a larger tax refund. If you need this income tax break to afford the home, make sure your tax consultant goes over your numbers with you. And determine if you need to adjust your tax withholdings during the year. House interest can have a major impact on your income tax obligation.

Then make sure you have the ability to afford a home by looking at your own financial situation. Is your credit in good shape? Check your credit history before you apply for a loan to avoid any embarrassment and to make any corrections to items you did not know about.

What added expenses will you have in a home you buy versus your previous residence? Some of the expenses listed below often get overlooked in the excitement of purchasing a new house.

Attorney fees

Homeowner Organization fees

Property taxes

Property insurance

Water and sewer bill

Garbage and trash bill

Window treatments

Lawn maintenance

Commute to work or school

And finally, remember that whatever breaks, wears out or becomes damaged is your responsibility. Painting, roofing or recarpeting a house can cost thousands of dollars. While you hope to purchase a house without such major needs, keep them in mind for future financial consideration.

Homeownership excites any person, even those buying second and third houses. Being prepared for all the uncertainties makes the experience much more enjoyable, and allows you to sit in your own living room and bask in the satisfaction of homeownership.

© High Speed Ventures 2011