Advice for First-Time Buyers
The clock is ticking…$8,000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit ends April 30, 2010. Don’t miss out! Let’s get started…there’s still time. An offer would have to be accepted by April 30, 2010 but you have until June 30, 2010 to close.
Plan Ahead: When buying a home, it is wise to plan ahead. Accrue enough money in savings to make a cash down payment and pay your closing costs. Closing costs are costs associated with your financing. You can estimate closing costs to be 3-4% of the amount you are financing. Your real estate agent will help you estimate the amounts you need.
Prequalification and Pre-Approval: Your mortgage lender will determine the home loan amount for which you can qualify. He or she will consider your housing expense and your total debt obligations as a percentage of your total income. Together you will determine your financing limit. Once this limit is determined, you will want to get a pre-approval letter – a representation that your lender, based on preliminary information, finds you qualified for a loan up to a predetermined amount. This letter is an important component to include with your offer to purchase, since it tells the sellers that you are serious and capable of purchasing their property. If you need a lender, please contact me and I will provide names and numbers of local lenders that I highly recommend.
Prepare Your Lists of Needs and Wants: Once you have determined a price range for your home, you are ready to begin thinking about where you want to live and the type of home you would like. Make a list of your required number of bedrooms, baths and other necessary features such as an attached garage or number of parking spaces. Make a second list of other features you desire such as pool, views, and proximity to shopping areas. These are still important but secondary to your first list of requirements.
Representation by a Professional: It is wise to work with your own real estate professional, one who is working for you, not the seller. Your Realtor should have specific knowledge about areas which appeal to you in your price range, along with knowledge of the market trends in those neighborhoods, and other information necessary to help you make a wise and informed decision.
For Your Protection, Have an Inspection: When you decide to proceed with an offer to purchase, make sure to include a home inspection, as a contingency to your offer. Then have the home inspected by a professional inspector. This is a small investment to make to ensure that the home doesn’t have any hidden problems not disclosed by the seller. Request a final walk-through just prior to closing to check that the home is left in the same condition as it was when you signed the papers, that all fixtures are left as was agreed, and that no damages occurred when the sellers moved out.
Buying real estate can be a daunting task, best handled by a professional that handles the details every day and can make the experience much easier for you. Call or e-mail me now. I am ready to help you purchase your new home in the Tri-Cities!