So you want to purchase a new home in the Rio Grande Valley? Great! How much time do you have to pay back your loan? And who’s your real estate agent? Wait, you mean you haven’t thought of it yet?
There are many hits and misses between planning to buy a house and having the keys in your pocket. Here’s a checklist your might find useful:
1. What does a home mean to you?
Before you can even start looking, it helps to identify your needs. Things like a fenced in yard, feng shui, a couple of garages, a basement, and built-in cabinet are just some of the considerations.
Apart from the house itself, you need to think of the neighborhood. Usually, buyers want everyday amenities like schools and supermarkets to be close by. It is a definite plus if the commute to work is short. Likewise, a safe community life is a must-have for most buyers.
2. How much home can you afford?
Home prices vary widely by location, by market appreciation and a host of other factors. Besides, closing fees, and property assessment costs are separate from the selling price. What price is the right price for you? Get an estimate using one of the mortgage calculators online and add to it a couple of extra costs like assessment fee and the price of getting new furniture.
Loans are usually repaid at regular intervals and down payment figures vary. Can you pay it all out of your income? Will there be enough left to take care of your essential expenses?
3. Is your credit report good enough for a loan?
In other words, how likely are you to pay back? A credit report shows your ability for loan repayment. But check your score for errors as they will lower it and you may miss out on a good home buying loan. Getting pre-qualified for borrowings is a good place to start.
A high credit score is an assurance for the lender. Every lender will ask for your report if you wish to get financed. You can check your score on reliable websites online and ask for your copy.
4. Get in touch with the right real estate agent and a suitable lender
Your agent is the point of contact between you and the seller. They help you understand the pros and cons of every property you shortlist or visit in person. They will also help you get the best deal. Experienced agents can discuss the terms of the deal with the seller and help you get the house at a bargain. Because they guard your interests, not the seller’s.
Who is a suitable lender? The real estate team you hire for home buying purposes may recommend reliable lenders they know and have worked with in the past. They are well versed with the buying process and can help you navigate the legal web.
5. Offer your best price for the house
If you are familiar with the home buying process, you already know there are others looking to buy the same property. Once you’ve made your offer known, it will be contested. It is not uncommon to get into bargaining as both sides would try to get the best price. You should also ask your real estate team how much such a property is usually priced at and what a reasonable tag is.
Yet, if you are serious about making the purchase, you have to agree to a price range. After that, if both parties are satisfied with the terms and conditions, the deal goes to the next level and you pay earnest money. This reserves the property in your name and you are one step ahead in acquiring your much-awaited home.
6. Decide on the type of mortgage
Various lenders offer various mortgage terms. Both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages are available with varying repayment duration. Often, home buyers decide on the type of loan by figuring out how long they intend to live at a particular place. Also, income stability is a big factor.
Sometimes, some loans require you to pay only the incurred interest value for the initial few years. Check out if such loans are suitable for you.
7. Close on the home
After you have made the earnest money, it is time to make the balance payment. The closing amount is not just that. There are usually other fees included, for instance, inspection charges, attorney charges, and money spent on title, down payment and the like.
Always take your lender into confidence about these costs.
8. Start living in your new home
The final step is moving in and taking charge of the keys to the place. Unpack, decorate and enjoy your residence. Ask your friends and family to help you move or take the help of movers.
Whatever you do, get in touch with a reliable real estate agent and team to take care of all aspects of buying your first home.