Buying a home is an exciting but often overwhelming experience, particularly if you are buying your first home. As your REALTOR®, we can help you through the home buying process and assure that you find the right home, at the right price for you.
Every homebuyer has numerous concerns, all of which we can help you with:
Setting a Time Frame
There are a lot of variables in the home-buying process, which means the time it takes to find and buy your new home varies too. A typical home search process may take three to four months, including the mortgage approval process, comparing and evaluating properties, making an offer and the closing process. The loan process typically takes 30-45 days.
The Lending Process
Perhaps one of the most intimidating aspects of buying a home is the mortgage approval process. We'll be here to help guide you through this, but there are many ways you can prepare early to make the process smoother. Start by making sure your budget is under control--make a list of all your monthly expenses, compare it with your income, and see if adjustments need to be made. You should also try to pay off small credit card balances. Start gathering documents you may need, such as W-2 forms, income tax returns for the past few years, pay stubs, records of child support or alimony, bank statements for the past several months, and your credit report. Also, be sure to allow for closing costs. Getting several offers will allow you to compare loans and get the best deal.
Determining How Much You Can Afford
A general guideline to consider is that most buyers purchase a home with their debt to income ratio around 36% and that is calculated by taking your total debt and dividing it by your monthly income. Existing debt is car payments, credit cards, student loans, etc. For example: all of your monthly debt is $2000 and your monthly income is $6000, your debt to income ratio is 33%. Things that are a factor in determining how much "house" you can afford is: gross monthly income, debt and monthly expensives, your credit score, and how much of a down payment you are considering.
Finding a Home That Meets Your Needs and Wants
Before you start looking at properties, make a list of "must-have" features along with optional features you'd like to have. "Must-have" features may include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need to accommodate your family, location (consider commute to work, which schools your children will attend, etc.), lot size and special needs (handicapped access, etc.). Optional features may include the architectural styling, bay windows, landscaping, etc. Having a clear idea of what you want in a home will help your REALTOR® find the perfect property for you.
Educating yourself about the home-buying process is key to getting a home you love and can afford. As your REALTOR®, we are here to answer any questions you might have and guide you through this process.