Did you know that as a buyer, you can enlist the skills and resources of an educated, experienced real estate agent at no additional cost to yourself?
What can a buyer’s agent do for you?
Familiarize yourself with your income and expenses and determine a comfortable payment range.
Now is the time to contact a lender for prequalification and start getting your financial information together. While you don't have to be prequalified to search for homes, you do need to qualify to purchase. By getting everything together now, you can start your home search with a clear cut idea of what you can afford and the price range you need to look in. This will also help you determine what kind of down payment you will need to have when it comes time to purchase.
Prequalifying vs. Preapproval
When buying a home, you may be pre-qualified or pre-approved. You can be pre-qualified over the phone or on the Internet in a few minutes. Pre-qualification is not as useful as pre-approval. Pre-approval requires a more rigorous process, including verification of your credit, income, assets and liabilities. It is highly recommended that you be pre-approved before you start looking for a home.
Being pre-approved will:
Do you have a time frame? Is there a location you prefer? A specific school zone you would prefer to stay in? How many bedrooms do you need? Are there specific features you can't live without? Prioritize! Make a list of what is most and least important to you in your new home.
Home type – Do you prefer the privacy and land that comes with a single family home or the low maintenance low hassle community environment that comes from multi family, condominium and co-op living?
Single Family – A single family property is defined as having one home per lot. Single family properties offer greater privacy, do not have common walls and offer less intruding noise from neighbors. There is normally a yard which may even have enough space for a lawn, swimming pool, storage unit, etc. With single family homes there may be room to expand later. This type or property is generally more expensive, and normally all maintenance is the homeowners responsibility.
Townhome / Townhouse – This is defined as a property that shares a building with other units. This type of home is generally less expensive than a single family property; you typically have no neighbors above or below you and normally have access to a small yard. There is low maintenance as the HOA may cover exterior maintenance, common area maintenance, roof repair etc. Also there is often access to amenities such as a community pool. On the downside, there is typically more noise from neighbors through shared walls, homeowner’s fees are usually required, and the yard is typically small.
Condominium - A condominium is basically an apartment that is individually owned. They are generally less expensive than single family properties, the homeowners association usually takes care of exterior maintenance such as roof replacement and common area maintenance and they usually include the use of amenities like a community pool. The downside to this type of property is noise from neighbors is more prevalent, they tend to have higher homeowners association fees and there is no yard.
Manufactured Homes – Manufactured homes are properties built in a factory and then installed on a home site. These properties are less expensive than single family homes and offer quick construction however some communities do not allow manufactured homes.
Age and Condition – Do you prefer a new, move in ready home or would you rather have an older home? Is renovation before move in an option for you? There are several renovation loan programs available today that make this option more feasible for the average buyer.
Location, Location, Location – Are you hoping to stay in the same school district when you make your move? Do you prefer to be closer to retail centers? Is a neighborhood with an active community life your preference or do you prefer a more private, secluded space?
See the link below for an easy to use search form that you can fill out to start a customized home search.