How Do I Get Started?

Buying a home will probably rank as one of the biggest personal investments one can make. Being organized and in control will contribute significantly to getting the best home deal possible with the least amount of stress. It's important to anticipate the steps required to successfully achieve your housing goal and to build a plan of action that gets you there.

Before you can build a plan of action, take the time to lay the groundwork for your decision-making process.

  1. Review your reasons for wanting to purchase a home
  2. Determine how much you can afford to pay
  3. Evaluate your needs and wants
  4. Do I need to use a Realtor?
  5. Do I need an inspection?

Why Should I Purchase a Home?

Following is a list of benefits of home ownership:

How Much Home Can I Afford?

When starting the search process for a new home, it's important to analyze your financial capabilities first.\ Here are some things you should consider:

First time home buyers in particular should consider:

Do your research on the types of mortgages available to you and find the one that best suits your needs. There are a number of considerations to be made in terms of finding the best mortgage for each individual:

If you are unsure about the answers to any of these questions speak with a mortgage company or broker to determine your existing debt load, including school loans, auto loans and credit card debt.

It is still true that the better qualifications you have, the lower your interest rate will be. However, there are mortgages available for almost everyone; it's the interest rates or the down payments that vary.

Before speaking with a lender, know what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to. Then when you discuss mortgage pre-approval with your lender, it is easier for you to determine the monthly amount and what value of home the monthly amount translates into.

Do not put yourself in the position where you will be paying more each month than you intended simply because the "dream" house requires it.

Pre-approval will let you know how much you can afford so that you can look for homes in your price range. Getting pre-approved helps you to alleviate some of the anxieties that come with home buying. You know exactly what you qualify for and at what rate, you know how large your monthly mortgage payments will be, and you know how much you will have for a down payment.

By asking the right questions, and knowing what your needs are, you can find the right loan and avoid the frustration of finding homes that you think are perfect, but are not in your price range.

See our Mortgage Info page for more details. TODO: Insert link to Mortgage Info page

What Do I Need and What Do I Want?

Before you embark on your search for the perfect house, it is important that you make a realistic list in an attempt to narrow your choices of properties.

Hunting for a home can be a time consuming process, especially if you have not determined in advance the parameters of your search. Many home buyers make the mistake of misinterpreting a WANT as a NEED. If you have a set budget in mind, you may find that you might have to compromise in one area in order to attain what you want in other areas.

First, take some time to prioritize your wants and needs:

Second, ask yourself where you want to live and what is the best location for you and/or your family. Things to consider:

Do I Need to Use a Realtor when Buying My Home?

The Realtor you work with could be one of your most valuable resources. Unlike many real estate agents who are simply licensed by their state to do business, Realtors have taken additional steps to become members of the local board of Realtors and have agreed to act under and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. Plus...

It's important that you choose an experienced agent who is there for you. Your agent should be actively finding you potential homes, keeping you informed of the entire process, negotiating furiously on your behalf, and answering all of your questions with competence and speed.

First, find an agent who represents you and not the seller. This is beneficial during the negotiation process. If you are working with a buyer's agent, he or she is required not to tell the seller of your top choice. In addition, he or she is also focused on getting you the lowest asking price.

You can sit down with a real estate agent and discuss your needs, type of area, style of home, amenities and everything you really want in your next home. Real estate agents can help you by accessing a Listing Service which covers all properties listed for sale within a specific area. Together, you can select the homes you would like to see, set appointments and preview homes in a short period of time. An agent can guide you through the entire process.

Many people go through the real estate classified section or browse the Internet to find a home that appeals to them. However, your real estate agent will have many listings available that may not appear in the newspaper or Internet on a continuous basis. New listings come on the market daily.

Finally, it costs you nothing to utilize the services of a Realtor when purchasing your home. Why not use the experience and support of a Realtor?

Do I Need to Get My Home Inspected?

Other Tips and FAQs