10 Steps to Prepare for Homeownership
1. Decide how much home you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income. However, how much of your current income is being paid out to service your debt must also be taken into consideration. Making an appointment with a lender to get 'pre-qualified' is a prudent idea. Not only will you have a very good idea of the price range you should be looking in, if you're armed with a letter of pre-qualification, you will look better in the eyes of seller when you finally make an offer.
2. Develop a wish list of what you’d like your home to have. Then prioritize the features on your list.
3. Select three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in. Consider items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
4. Determine if you have enough saved to cover your down payment and closing costs. Closing costs, including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees average between 2 percent and 7 percent of the home price. These calculators from "Ginnie Mae" will help.
5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report.
6. Determine how large a mortgage you can qualify for. Also explore different loans options and decide what’s best for you.
7. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to pre-approve you for a loan.
8. Do research to determine if you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment-assistance programs.
9. Calculate the costs of homeownership, including property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and association fees, if applicable.
10. Find an experienced RE/MAX Valley REALTOR® who can help you through the entire process from start to moving in..
Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online
by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.