Although becoming a homeowner is exciting, there are several details you should know and be prepared for before you make that offer. We have collected a list for prospective homeowners like you so you can be more prepared for all the details that come along with becoming a homeowner.
Find out exactly what you can afford as a homeowner.
Forget wasting your time with online mortgage calculators. Mortgages are based on so much specific and personalized financial information that generalized calculators are simply inaccurate. You’ll likely be able to afford less than online mortgage calculators suggest. Talk to some mortgage specialists. It is always best to explore your options and put in research time. We also recommend really assessing your own financial information.
Consider what you pay now for rent/mortgage, as well as your current cost of utilities and other monthly bills. Consider how much money you feel comfortable spending each month on mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. If you’re becoming a homeowner for the first time, remember your utilities will increase when moving from an apartment to a house. Getting a clear picture of the kind of financial investment you can comfortably make on a new home will help you be able to stay in that home for years to come. Top of Form
Get Pre-approved and/or a Pre-Qualification for a mortgage.
Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage does not guarantee your mortgage process will be “easy”. Be prepared early with all the documents you need. Gather the following:
- Recent pay stub
- Last two years of W-2’s (or copies of your tax returns)
- Last 2-3 months of your bank and investment accounts
- Explanation for any large transfers between accounts or large purchases
If you’re planning to purchase a home, the last thing you want to do is make any changes to your financials. This means you don’t want to buy that new car or boat any time before the closing of your new house. Don’t open any lines of credit or withdraw large amounts of cash. The more stable your financial situation, the better it is for your mortgage approval process.
Consider & be ready for all the costs connected to becoming a homeowner.
When you’re getting ready to buy a house, there are many extras to be prepared for. From closing costs to homeowner’s insurance, inspection fees, and the deposit on the house you want to purchase. Typically, a 20% down payment on a home is one cost most prospective homeowners are prepared for. But, there are many more costs you need to be prepared for.
For example, have you considered the deposit required to “hold” your home while the paperwork processes? First time homeowners often are unaware of this fee, which can be substantial and range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. You’ll also need homeowner’s insurance, which will need to be purchased before you can move in. Then there are closing costs, which can range from 2% to 5% of the total cost of your house. Many home buyers will make an offer on a property that is for sale with the inclusion of the seller to pay closing costs.
You will also need to be prepared to pay any home inspection fees. Many homes today are purchased and are “move in ready”, but some are not, so being prepared to pay for repairs should be included in your homeowner budget too. Once you move in, you will undoubtedly need to “remedy issues”, which could include a new washer and dryer, new shower door or fixtures, blinds/curtains, etc. and it all adds up, so be prepared.
Stay in your housing price range.
The worst thing you can do to yourself as a prospective homeowner is to explore outside your housing budget. When you see homes you truly cannot afford, you are working against your best homeowner experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, and chances are, you won’t be able to purchase your dream home the first, or maybe even the second time you buy a home. Why do this to yourself? Becoming a homeowner is a big deal. Focusing on what you can afford will help you see the potential in what you can do to make each house a home.
Explore your potential new neighborhood.
When you are shopping for a new home, one of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to explore your neighborhood. Not only are you buying a house, you are also becoming part of a neighborhood. Make sure you want to become part of that neighborhood. Like successful realtors always say, location, location, location. In addition to the area surrounding your potential new home, consider if this location is conducive to all your needs such as access to schools, grocery stores, internet speeds, etc. Knowing what to expect from your new home will help you make the most successful transition to homeownership.
Noonan Lombardi Realtors: Your Southern New England Realtors for Life
Working with an experienced real estate team will be an asset to homeowners. A good realtor will guide you through the entire real estate process and alert you to items that will need your attention. At Noonan Lombardi Realtors, we present options to home buyers and home sellers that they may not have considered otherwise. The best thing you can do as a potential home buyer or home seller is to work with a great realtor sooner rather than later.
Noonan Lombardi Realtors specializes in real estate across Southern New England, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. From rentals and property management to buying and selling homes, we’re the team of realtors and brokers you can trust for the best possible real estate experience. Call our team today (401) 580-8672 or find us online at www.NoonanLombardiRealtors.com.