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Saturday, March 30, 2013

First-Time Home Buyer? Here’s What Not to Do

From Zillow by Kate Ashford. LearnVest.com

Our friends at LearnVest offer sound financial tips and advice for every aspect of life. Check out these friendly warnings for prospective home buyers.

Insanely low mortgage interest rates — and the knowledge that they’ll eventually go up again — make a lot of people feel like it’s time to buy a house right now. And maybe it is … if you go about it the right way.

Buying a home is a major purchase (to put it mildly), and there are plenty of ways to trip up. But don’t worry — we’ve got your primer right here.

Don’t … buy a house if you’re planning to move again soon

If you’re a renter, it can be frustrating to write a rent check every month and have no home equity to show for it at the end of the year. But if you aren’t certain that you’re going to stay put for a few years, it’s probably not the right time to buy — equity or no equity. “Some people tend to buy a house knowing that they’re going to be relocating after a few years,” says LearnVest Planning Services certified financial planner Ellen Derrick. “Don’t buy property and automatically assume that you’ll be able to rent it out or sell it when you move.”

What to do: If you aren’t in an area with a strong rental market that would allow you to cover the mortgage on your home if you move elsewhere, then stick with a rental for now.

Don’t … bust your budget

Shopping for houses can make you a little giddy. Look at this one! And this one! For a little bit more, you could get granite countertops, plus an office nook! You’re dealing with such large numbers when you’re browsing real estate that it might not seem like such a huge deal to stretch another $10,000 or $15,000 to get the home you really love. But that’s not a game you want to play. “People look at the top end of theiraffordable monthly payment, and they don’t really think about what happens if their income goes down or they have to change jobs,” says Derrick. (If you’re wondering what percentage of your budget should go toward housing, check out the 50/20/30 Rule.)

What to do: Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Not only will this prove that you’re serious to your real estate agent and home sellers; it will also give you an idea of your upper limit. “Remember that the lender is there to make you a loan, and the more money you borrow, the better it is for them,” Derrick says. “They want you to max out. I would take the pre-approval number and cut about 20 percent off.”

Don’t … forget about added costs

Buying a home isn’t just a matter of replacing a rental payment with a mortgage payment. There are also maintenance costs, utilities (which will likely cost more) and property taxes. “People tend to forget about both property taxes and insurance when they’re thinking about how much house they can afford,” Derrick says. “The actual monthly payment could end up being well out of your price range when you figure those things in.”

What to do: Ask the homeowners about their average utility costs and property taxes, get a homeowner’s insurance quote, and budget about one percent of the home’s purchase price for annual maintenance. Then run the numbers to see if you can afford the home. (And, don’t forget about closing costs.)

My name is Scott Grebner and I have been helping my clients realize their own personal real estate dreams. Real estate is a relationship-based business that works best when client relationships are built on trust and confidence. My goal is having clients be completely satisfied with the professional and caring service they have received.

The role of technology is rapidly changing how the real-estate market functions in this country today. Gerharter Realtors is embracing these new mediums of communication to better serve our customers. We have created our e-family to better place important information in your hands to help you with your housing needs. As a part of Gerharter Enterprises we have access to a broader range of additional services and resources to better assist you. Visit me at my Web Site, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube or Pinterest. Please check out our helpful resources on Sellers Tips, Buyers Tips, Foreclosure Tips, and Mortgage Tips. For a personal consultation please visit our Office.

It seems that the dream of past generations was to pay off a mortgage. The dream of today’s young families is to get one. I would love to hear from you, about your Real Estate Dreams and questions.

Email me at scott@gerharterrealtors.com.

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