Buying real estate is one of the ultimate lifetime goals for most people. You should spend your time becoming educated on the process before you jump into anything. Being educated will be your best defense against a bad deal. The following are some helpful tips to get you headed in the right direction.
For both sellers and buyers make sure that you always gather data about things. Look at the newspaper in that area for things like foreclosed homes, current and historic median selling prices and also how long homes are staying on the market. Also look up things like unemployment rate and crime rates for the area.
Look for alternative sources in reaching your down payment goal. Sometimes you may have the option to apply for government programs that will assist with the purchase. First time home buyers should always exercise this option, as it can save you an immense amount of money which can be used to begin your life in your new home.
Find and network with other real estate investors. In addition to being able to share information, hearing other investors experiences first-hand is one of the best learning tools you can find. It can help you avoid mistakes they have made. Additionally, having a network of connections can alert you to investment opportunities you may not be aware of otherwise.
When figuring your monthly costs and how much you can afford to pay, be sure to take homeowners association dues and fees into account. Usually applicable to condo units, HOA costs are also a factor in some single-family developments. Be sure to find out what the current dues are and if there are any special assessments in the near future.
Check the neighborhood for sex offenders online at the National Sex Offender Public Registry. Knowing if one of these predators lives in the neighborhood that you may move to is important to the safety of you and your family. Check for registered and formerly registered offenders. Taking a minute to look may save your family heartache.
When trying to find out how much you can afford to pay for a home, you will need to take your gross income, funds available for a down payment, closing costs, and cash reserves that will be required by a lender into consideration. Many lenders will use the housing expense to income ratio to calculate how much you will be able to afford to make payments on.
Don’t be caught off guard by hidden fees. Ask your Realtor upfront for an estimate of what the closing costs will be. Items like commissions, attorney fees and home owner association fees should be disclosed upfront. Review the settlement and all the terms before you are ready to close.
If you don’t have any money for a down payment, look for a lender that does 80:20 loans. This is two separate loans. One is for 20%, the down payment amount, and the other is the 80% needed for the purchase loan. Often these come from the same company, but are two separate loans with different payment amounts and interest rates.
When you purchase a property, extra funds should always be available for unexpected costs that are bound to arise. The closing costs for the buyer is usually determined by adding the pro-rated taxes with the down payment and bank fees. Most of the time, closing costs also include improvement bonds, school taxes and other considerations.
If you plan to buy a home, learn all you can about the process. Although a real estate agent will be representing you in the purchase, you should still learn enough about the process so that you will know if your agent is doing an effective job. Always get references on your agent to make sure he is competent.
While the internet has made it easier than ever to buy and sell real estate across town or across the country, it also makes it easier to make expensive mistakes. Never buy a property without actually visiting it yourself or hiring a professional home inspector who can conduct a thorough on-site evaluation of the property and report findings objectively. Remember, photos can be very deceiving.
Try asking the seller to aid you in closing costs or giving financial incentives. One common practice is to request that the seller “buy down” interest rates for one or two years. By asking for financial incentives, you are possibly keeping the seller from negotiating the selling price.
When you are going to purchase a condo, apartment or a townhouses, make sure you inquire about Home Owner Association (HOA) fees. Although HOA fees sometimes cover lawn care, household repairs and provide you with amenities, it can also cost a fortune. Make sure you factor these fees into your budget before you purchase a place.
If you are going to purchase a home, you should read up on closing costs. These costs will vary depending where you live. You should discuss these fees with your lender, agent or the company handling the settlement so you understand specifically what these fees are for and who will pay them.
Remember than you do not have to commit to a loan with the first lender you meet with. Mortgage loans are common nowadays, so if you feel that interest rates are too high, chances are they probably are. Shopping until you find a reasonable lender can save you loads of money.
Do not give up on your dream home if it is slightly above your budget. The price of a house is usually negotiable, especially those that have been on the market for a significant amount of time. Also, offer the homeowner an incentive, such as offering to pay half of the closing costs.
Now that you have learned these important things, you have more power in making the right decision for your future. You are investing so much into this process and putting all of your energy into making the right real estate buying decisions. Using these great tips, you cannot easily go wrong.