Before you start looking for a home you should ask yourself a few questions. Where do you want to live? Do you want to be close to schools, shopping, or work? What kind of house would you like (need)? Are you looking for a particular style? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want? How much house can you afford? Have you consulted a Realtor® or Mortgage representative to determine the size of the mortgage for which you would qualify? Here are a few tips to help you get organized:
- Pull a credit report on yourself and make sure the information is accurate. If you find any errors take steps to correct them immediately.
- Choose a Realtor® and work exclusively with her/him. They will get to know your needs and will help to guide you in the buying process. A Buyers Agent can save you dollars because sellers pay their fees - not buyers.
- Browse through real estate advertisements in the newspaper and homes magazines. This will give you a good feel for the types and costs of homes on the market.
- In many communities, Realtors® may have television programs or interactive phone systems which will allow you to find out information.
- Visit open houses on the weekend. It doesn't cost anything to look, and looking at a few different homes might give you some ideas for things you'd like in a house but haven't considered. Please tell the onsite agents the name of the Realtor you are working with. Remember, onsite agents work for the sellers, not you.
How much house can you afford?
A quick way to estimate the size of mortgage you qualify for is to take your gross monthly income (that's before taxes and other deductions) and multiply it by .28. This works out to just over 1/4 of your gross income. Mortgage companies use something called qualifying ratios to determine how much they'll lend you. Most mortgage companies use either a 28/36 ratio or a 25/33 ratio. The first number in each pair is the percentage of your gross income that the lender would consider acceptable as a monthly mortgage payment (i.e. if you make $3,000 per month, 28% of that is $840 per month). The second number in each pair is used when all debt payments are considered, not just the mortgage. (i.e. if you make $3,000 per month, but also have a $250 a month car payment, 36% of $3,000 is $1,080, minus the $250 car payment equals $830). As you can see, in this example the numbers work out to be almost the same. Obviously if you have more debt you would qualify for less.
Why you should work with a Realtor®
Working with a professional Realtor® to buy your home is a good idea for several reasons:
- They'll analyze your financial situation to help you determine how much you can afford. Or, you may prefer they find a lender to guide you.
- They're familiar with the process of buying a home and new real estate regulations, and can explain things to you.
- They can easily access information on all properties listed for sale by Realtors® in your area, or homes for sale by owners.
- They can set up appointments for you to see homes that interest you.
- They'll advise you and help you complete all the necessary paperwork when it comes time to make an offer.
- They'll be there at closing to answer your questions and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Choosing a Realtor®
Searching for your dream home can be a time consuming experience. Working with a professional Realtor® will make the process much more efficient. Since most people spend a fair amount of time with their Realtor®, it's important to choose someone you feel comfortable with, and who is responsive to your needs. The following questions will help you decide if a particular Realtor® is right for you:
If the answer to most of these questions is "Yes" - you've found yourself a great Realtor®. If you find yourself answering "no" to many of these questions, or to any individual questions that are important to you, you should keep looking until you find a Realtor® with whom you feel comfortable.
- Do they return your phone calls?
- Do they ask you questions to determine what you want/need in a house?
- Do they perform a financial analysis to help you determine how much you can afford or get a Lender to talk with you at no cost or obligation.
- Do they explain things clearly?
- Do they seem knowledgeable about the community?
- Do you feel comfortable spending time and sharing information with them?
- Do they treat you like you're the only client they have?
- Judy has a 24 hour voice mail system, pager, cell phone, a dedicated fax, voice message hotlines, and a toll free number. I'm not telling you this impress you but to show you her commitment to what ever it takes to serve you beyond your expectations.
- Judy is a full time Realtor. She is well educated.
- Judy has a list of references, past clients, and professional associates whom you can call at any time to discuss the quality of service she has provided to other people just like YOU.
- Judy has her my own Exclusive Marketing plan to service the buying or selling of your home.