Am I ready to be a homeowner?

If you think you are prepared to take the leap from renter to homeowner, then it is important to take a financial inventory of your lifestyle, debts and assets. Are you gainfully and reliably employed? Lenders look for those who will pay their loans payments on time, and consistent income is a must to qualify. Do you have enough money saved to put up a down payment? The down payment should be a minimum of five to 10 percent of the real estate property purchase price. Your credit score should be in at least fair to good shape and only contain a few outstanding debts that can be easily resolved. Your payment history should show a good record of payments being made on time.

Is renting or buying better?

Comparing buying and renting is no different than comparing apples to oranges. While they both have pros and cons, it simply comes down to what each person prefers when considering buying a house for sale. Renters have the advantage of management-provided maintenance and lawn care in most cases. When buying your own home, there is opportunity to build equity with the monthly payments, while also qualifying for tax incentives to help offset new homeowner expenses.


What is the lender’s formula?

The lender’s formula is a complex configuration of debt-to-income ratio, available credit and score, credit history and the amount of available cash for the down payment and closing costs, as well a few other numbers.

What do I look for in homes?

Is the home large enough to fit your needs, both now and in the future? Is the structure compromised in any way? Imagine the home throughout the seasons with all of your belongings inside. Ask questions of the homeowner. Are the appliances going to stay? What, if any, have been ongoing maintenance issues? What is the neighborhood like? What is the reputation of the local schools? Some of these details can only be found out by talking to the homeowners themselves, so don’t be afraid to ask.

What should I offer?

Ask your real estate agent for advice and use common sense. Find out the value of other homes in the area, how long the property has been listed, the home’s physical condition and if there are any special circumstances. All these factors should be taken into account when determining the official offer for the property.

Do I need a home warranty?

The decision to invest in a home warranty for the purchase is entirely up to you, the buyer. A home warranty provides coverage on appliances and specific items for a specific amount of time, typically at least a year. Many first-time home buyers purchase a home warranty so they are covered immediately after making their home purchase. This is smart, as finances may be thinner during this time, and in the event of unexpected repairs or replacements, the warranty will kick in to save the day.

What is pre-qualifying versus pre-approval?

Before setting up any appointments to view homes for sale with a real estate agent or homeowner, find out the likelihood of you being able to get approval for a home loan. In pre-qualification, you are given an estimate of what you may be able to borrow based on limited financial information provided in a form. This is an easy way to determine how much you could possibly spend on your real estate home purchase. To be pre-approved means a financial institution has agreed to work with you and has already taken a deep view into your financial situation. Pre-approval gives potential home buyers more solid answers on how much they can afford during the home buying process.

What should I expect at closing?

After everything is checked off the list and closing time arrives, you will first need to verify that the homeowner’s insurance premium is paid. Take this documentation to present to the real estate closing agent along with the paid receipt. The seller will provide the home inspection and home warranty paperwork. In most cases, the buyer is responsible for the lender’s closing costs (unless there has been another agreement made in the contract between the seller and buyer). These costs include property taxes, interest, origination, survey or recording fees and title insurance.

Do not believe the myth that you are not able to purchase a home or buy real estate property after declaring a bankruptcy. It is simply not true. Wait the typical two-year period, clean up your credit, show a steady history of making payments on time and save up the cash for a down payment on a house — and then you can start working on making your dreams of home ownership come true. Stay employed and rebuild your finances to reflect the stability and reliability you are striving to prove to the mortgage lenders when it is time to finally buy a house. Real estate ownership can be within your reach.

Source: forbes.com

Photo by Andrian Vihristiuc