Before you begin house hunting, you should have a preapproval letter in hand from your lender. This will tell you what price range you should be looking in. Keep in mind that it is a good idea to keep at your financial comfort level. Never borrow more than you are comfortable with, even if your lender is willihttp://www.realtor.com/advice/are-you-ready-to-buy-a-home/ng to give you more. At the end of the day, you will be the one making the monthly payments. Keep in mind as the price goes up, so does everything else like the down payment and the monthly payment
After you’ve established your price range you’ll need to narrow your search by the neighborhood. Keep things in mind such as your commute to work. Do your homework and know the best school districts. Even if you do not have any children, when and if you decide to sell your home, terrific school districts are an incredible selling point. Think about the type of setting in which you want to live – urban, suburban or rural. Do you want a community with lots of outdoor recreational amenities; one with shops, restaurants and nightlife; or one with plenty of activities for children. Crime rate for that area is also another important consideration. A public crime data search in your prospective area can give you much useful information. We all want to keep ourselves and loved ones safe.
Before conducting your search, decide if you would want to live in a home that is part of a homeowner association (HOA). Many homes, whether they are single-family residences, townhomes or villas, are part of a HOA. Homeowner Association rules help protect home values. Since there is a good chance that this home will be your largest investment, you may want that added protection. HOA dues often include community amenities as well as maintenance which may take a burden off of you. However, the HOA rules also limit what you can do with the exterior of your home and yard. You will also need to include HOA dues as part of your housing budget and depending on the area, these HOA dues may become very expensive.
Condominiums and cooperative homes also have association dues and offer a different type of ownership, with the association owning the exterior of the property while you own the interior. These dues will be part of your housing budget, but they typically include some of your homeowner’s insurance and other costs, as well as pay for amenities such as a swimming pool or a fitness center.
Most buyers start searching for a home online on websites such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, but you can also ask us to help you find homes for sale. You can request automated email alerts that notify you when a home that fits your criteria comes on the market. This way you can act fast if you believe this home is the one you have been looking for and meets all of your criteria.
You can find out more about a home first by looking at photos and a description online. In many cases, homes’ online listings have virtual tours or videos that offer the opportunity to see more. Just remember images may be misleading and are only meant to give you an idea of the home. Images can never take the place of physically being and looking at the home
Keep both new homes and existing homes in mind. New homes are sometimes more expensive than existing homes, but they require less maintenance and often have lower utility bills because of their energy-efficient features. An older home may even cost more in the long run.