How Do I Know if I'm Ready to Buy a Home?
You can find out by asking yourself some questions:
- Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
- Do I have a good record of paying my bills?
- Do I have money saved for a down payment?
- Do I have few outstanding debts, like car payments?
- Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs?
If you can answer "yes" to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.
What Should I Look for When Walking Through a Home?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, you may want to consider the following:
- Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
- Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Is the home structurally sound?
- Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
- Is the yard big enough?
- Do you like the floor plan?
- Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space?
- Imagine the home in good weather and bad - will you be happy with it year round?
Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.
What Questions Should I Ask When Looking at Homes?
Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance (e.g., paint, roof, HVAC, appliances, carpet)? Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller's or real estate agent's answers are clear and complete. Ask questions until you understand all of the information they've given. Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive.
Do I Need to Be There for the Inspection?
It's not required, but it's a good idea. Following the inspection, the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also an opportunity to hear an objective opinion on the home you'd like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general, maintenance questions.
What Makes Up Closing Cost?
There may be closing cost customary or unique to a certain locality, but closing cost are usually made up of the following:
- Attorney's or escrow fees
- Property taxes (to cover period to date)
- Interest (paid from date of closing to 30 days before first monthly payment)
- Loan Origination fees
- Recoding Fees
- Survey Fee
- First premium of mortgage insurance (if applicable)
- Title Insurance
- Loan discount points
- First payment to escrow account for future real estate taxes and insurance
- Paid receipt of homeowner's insurance policy
- Any documentation preparation fees