Buying or Selling a Home/Home buying process

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Question
Hi Jessica,

My question is regarding the home buying process, including dealing with realtors, mortgages, credit, inspections, etc. I am 25 years old and wanting to buy a house in the next year or two. I was wondering if you could outline the general steps I need to take, staring now. I was thinking of getting pre-approved for a loan now just to see what my current income could afford, and what the process of applying for a mortgage entails, but I'm unsure if that is a good idea since I am not yet fully committed on buying right now. Will that impact my credit enough to where it might jeopardize my ability to get approved later? I have excellent credit now, 800s, and no debts other than 2 credit cards that I use and pay off before the due date every month.

Answer
Hi Joseph;
You are wise to start thinking about this now.  I would suggest that you go to a lender and discuss the various programs and based upon your income, savings and credit score what you can afford, how much you will need as a down payment, and what your real costs will be.  While this will change from now and the time you decide to buy a home, it can help educate you and prepare you.  Interest rates will undoubtedly be a little higher which means that you will not be able to afford as much but perhaps you will be be able to put more down on the house when you are ready.  The lender doesn't need to run a credit report quite yet.  You can wait until you are actually ready to get a pre-approval before you need a credit report run.  What you would be doing now is fact finding.  Once you are ready, call the lender to check on what you can afford based on any changes in the market, your job, savings, etc. Getting a pre-approval will be important AFTER you have met with a REALTOR and discussed homes, prices, and neighborhoods.  You will have a good idea at that time what you can afford so you can advise the agent what you want to look for in a home and how much you can spend.  The agent should be someone recommended to you by coworkers, or peers.  If you don't have that option, call a brokerage and ask to speak with the managing broker.  Explain that you are a first time buyer and would like an experienced agent who will work with you.  Interview this agent without signing any agency to see if it is someone to whom you can relate.  If you like this agent then you can 'hire' them to work with you.  The agent will take care of explaining the process to you and what to expect.  If this is not done to your satisfaction, find another agent.  When you zero in on a few neighborhoods, make sure that you know the resale history, the rate of increase in value, and any plans for changes in roads, construction, new neighborhoods, etc in the vicinity.  Also, have the agent pull the sales history of the home and make sure to review the seller disclosure statements.

Wishing you luck in this home-buying 'adventure'.

Jessica Bryan
Managing Broker
House to Home Realty Services

Buying or Selling a Home

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Jessica Bryan

Expertise

buying and selling process such as:
General questions from first time buyers
How to market a home
Why choose a REALTOR
How do I find a REALTOR
Should I consider buying or selling without a REALTOR--how much can I save
Should I remodel or move
How much can I expect to gain by fixing up my home before selling
Helpful tips when selling
Helpful tips when buying
finding a good mortgage loan
what is the difference between banks, mortgage bankers, and mortgage brokers
Questions from the general public, people thinking about getting their real estate license, newly licensed.
Fellow professionals who have interests in networking and how to get started
What is a market evaluation and how does it differ from an appraisal what are the different loan programs
services a REALTOR can perform
when to use a lawyer
when to use escrow
what are the regional differences in the buying and selling process
what is the MLS and how does it work
how can the layman access information on the web--listings and other information
These are just a few of the questions. I can suggest that if I am unable to answer a question I will refer the inquiry to a source that can.

Experience

Anyone who is in this business and who dedicates oneself to professionalism has continued to take classes and along with it,additional credentials, awards and honors. I can list a host of them, but my greatest accomplishments happen to be those of getting first time buyers (who didn't think they could afford to buy a home)into a home of their dreams. The look on their faces when I hand over the keys is worth all of the hard work.

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