How to Start Your New Home Search in the New Year: Part One
Buying a new house is a daunting prospect, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever purchased property. Understanding the various types of mortgages, keeping in mind taxes, homeowner association fees, and figuring out the best neighborhood for you and your family takes some effort. However, if you’re in the market for a new home, this three-part series will help walk you through the process from start to finish so that you could well be on your way to owning a new home in the new year.
First and foremost, it is important to make sure you are ready to become a homeowner. There are home maintenance costs, repairs, taxes, and other costs that aren’t always an issue if you’re a renter. It is important to create a smart budget that takes into consideration your monthly mortgage payment, as well as these other costs. Your monthly housing should be no more than 28% of your gross monthly income and you probably want it to be lower if you have additional costs such as private schooling or long-term health issues.
Once you have a clear idea of how much you can spend, it is worthwhile working with a real estate agent to help you through the paperwork, inspections, negotiations, and generally helping you avoid any pitfalls or money pits. It is worthwhile interviewing multiple agents before choosing one. You want to find someone you feel comfortable with and who is willing to answer all of your questions.
Before you begin visiting properties, you should apply for a mortgage pre-approval. A mortgage lender will make sure your budget is appropriate and will take a close look at your financial situation. They will then let you know the amount they are willing to lend you, helping you determine exactly what price range you can look at as you start your new home search. This pre-approval also gives you a stronger position when making a bid, because the seller knows you will be able to make a serious offer and won’t have to wait for approval.
Once your financials are in order and you have an agent, you can begin confidently looking at new homes. In part two, we will look more closely at the house hunt and making an offer when you find the right property.
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