If the time has finally come and you've found that (almost) perfect dream home, some special care must be taken to ensure that mistakes are kept to a bare minimum. It's easy to get so excited about the process, particularly if you are a first-time home buyer, that you could fall into one of several common pitfalls.
Thinking you don't need help: The internet has opened up the real estate world in a big way, and it would be foolish not to take advantage of it. Use it wisely, and don't rely entirely on it, however. There is a wealth of general information about crime, school quality, and more online. Let the internet help you see what is available in your price range and in your area, but allow a professional real estate agent to guide you through the rest of the confusing maze of purchasing your first home.
Along those same lines, many lenders, particularly those offering government-backed loans, now require buyers partake in some educational training before their loans are approved. These classes cover everything from finding your home to getting approved for financing. Even if it's not a requirement, these classes are a great idea.
Be ready to jump on a great deal: In many locations, homes are a hot commodity and they can go quickly. If you aren't ready to make an offer, you could end up losing out on that perfect property. Be prepared by getting preapproved for a loan, and find a real estate agent who can clue you in on upcoming properties that may not have yet hit the market.
Failing to understand mortgage financing: You have likely heard that you should be able to afford a home with a purchase price of about three times your yearly salary. Unfortunately, there is a lot more to determining how much house you can afford than that, and if you fail to understand the financial aspects of the home purchase, it could really come back to haunt you. Nowadays, it's nearly impossible to purchase a home without being approved in advance for the loan. This approval will be nearly as involved as a loan application, and you will need to provide proof of your income by having pay stubs, income tax returns and other forms of proof.
Once you have your approval, you will know the upper limit of the home you can afford. That means the maximum you can buy, not the minimum. You may find a home that fills most of your boxes for a lot less, which will mean a better monthly payment and a less expensive loan. Don't forget to take into consideration your property taxes, homeowner's insurance, and private mortgage insurance, which is a given if you cannot come up with a down payment.
Speak to a real estate company like Steve Cohn - Keller Williams Realty - Petaluma for more information and assistance.