You decided to take the plunge and buy a new home, now what? Here are a few steps to help you decide how to get in the market hunt.
1. Check the “recent” selling prices for the area you are wanting to move to. There are several websites, including this one, where you can get valuations of the surrounding area. This will give you a ballpark idea of what you can expect to pay. Also do a search of current active listings in the area of choice to have an understanding of what you could choose from. A great place to start is here →. Another place to check is The National Association of Realtors® Site.
2. Determine what you can afford and are comfortable with paying for a mortgage. Check out the calculator there → for a principle and interest estimate. Better yet call a mortgage company or bank and explain your needs and they will give you several options on how they can help.
3. Find out the total estimate of what a mortgage will cost you per month. There are a few variables that could go into this amount and can really change the area and home you can afford. To get an estimate for insurance, call a local Insurance company and ask for a quote. It is no charge and simple to do. They will need a few pieces of information to give you a good estimate. Address, size of the home, updated electrical, security system, when the home was built, updated plumbing, and price of the home are generally what they will ask for. Also you will have property taxes which depending on where you are moving to can be great or small. Ask the local tax department for the tax percentage to calculate the cost. Another cost you will need to include if it is necessary, is if the home is in a “Home Owners Association”, or has HOA fees for the subdivision. These can be costly, so be sure you know.
4. Find out how much to expect in closing costs for the home purchase. Closing costs include origination fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowners insurance or homeowners association fees. You can see what closing costs average in your state by looking at Bankrate.com’s annual closing cost survey.
5. Know your budget and what you can afford and stick to it. Fannie Mae recommends buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing. Get in the 30% range and you risk becoming house poor.
6. Understand there are much more costs that come with ownership as compared to renting, but the reward far outlasts the extra. Maintaining a home of your own will take more time than renting a home, but it is YOUR HOME. Change the color if you want, change the lighting if you want, have a hous warming party and get a ton of gifts if you want, IT IS YOURS!
7. Lastly and most important. Talk to a local Realtor®. We have the skills and knowledge to help you make the best decision and be comfortable with it. Let a reputable Realtor® educate you on the ups and downs of the local market and when is the best time to take the plunge.