what is the best way to start off buying home for the first time?

I’ve been thinking about buying a home recently, but dont know any steps I should take or good advice to follow.

2 thoughts on “what is the best way to start off buying home for the first time?

  1. Contact a mortgage broker or lender and get prequalified for a loan. This will tell you how much house you can afford and at what terms, and you’ll know your price range. Also, you usually need to be prequalified for a loan to have an offer accepted.

    Next, go get yourself a real estate agent. Choose an office in the area you’re looking in. They’re usually more knowledgeable about the neighborhoods, what’s more desirable, what’s less desirable, etc. You can look on line (www.realtor.com) and in the local paper for properties for sale. But, don’t even think of putting in an offer unless you have a buyer’s agent. The seller actually pays the buyer’s agent’s commission. So, you have nothing to gain and everything to lose by getting your own agent.

    And, never use a selling agent as your buyer’s agent. This sets up a conflict of interest that usually favors the seller.

  2. OK. First go to myfico.com and get your credit report and your credit score. Get your paystubs, your last two years’ tax returns, make a few copies of each, since each potential lender will want to have them.
    Go online and do some research. There is a lot of information out there as to rates, terms, what to avoid, etc. Talk to a few realtors in the neigborhoods in which you have an interest. Remember that the most important thing is the location of the property, so pay attention. Look at alot of homes. Ask the real estate agents to tell you what the problems are, where the best schools are, what the houses sold for previously and what the comparable houses in the area sold for recently. Don’t be in a rush to buy something. You need to be educated first. There’s plenty of time to buy something at a great price and with a great mortgage. Rates are very low right now and will remain so for awhile. Remember, don’t fall in love with any house. There is always another house. A good real estate agent should be able to give you a sense of the available rates and suggest which lenders are doing the financing in your area. Go see a few local banks and have them figure out how much financing you can qualify for. They can prequalify you if you want. Make sure that you know all of the costs of getting the financing. You can pay “points” up front to get a lower interest rate. Each point is 1% of the loan amount. This might make sense if you are going to stay in the house for a long time, but perhaps not if you plan to move in 5 years or so, as most people do. You should probably try to get a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. Put down 20% and you won’t have to pay any PMI (private mortgage insurance) which can add alot to your monthly payment.
    Ask what the property taxes are, what homeowners insurance might be, make sure you get the house inspected by someone who knows how to do this well. There are other closing costs and they can be significant. Learn about them.
    A good real estate agent should be representing you as the buyer and not both you and the seller. Look for someone who has lots of experience and who knows the specific neighborhood well. If you aren’t comfortable with your real estate agent, just find another. You didn’t marry them.
    Again, research first, take your time, find a good agent, look at lots of homes. Then, once you know what’s out there, when you see the home you want, you will feel comfortable making an offer on it. Also, it’s a buyer’s market. Find a motivated seller and you can get a very good deal.

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