Home Buying

by Direct Mortgage

There are two key activities in which you have to engage when planning to buy a home. First, searching for and picking the house you want to buy. Second, securing the money to buy your dream home.

We’ll begin with deciding on a home. If you haven’t decided yet which city to move to, there are useful tools on the Internet that can help you make a decision. By typing the keywords “city profile” or “neighborhood profile” into a search engine, you’ll be able to find a site that can give you valuable information. For example, you’ll be able to learn about a city’s population, the percentage of that population that are Democrats or Republicans, teacher-to-student ratios, demographic make up, median age and income, unemployment rate, median home values, information about the climate, overview of the crime in the area, air and water quality, sales and income tax for the city, and even information about religion.

Besides knowing the city where you’d like to live, it’s important to know how much you can afford to pay on a home. Although this is somewhat of a personal decision, there are important objective factors that play a role in how large a loan you might be able to obtain. These factors include your credit score, your income, and how much debt you have. Free mortgage calculators available on the Internet can help you get an idea of the maximum loan amount you might get, whether it’s better to rent or buy, what your monthly payment might be (an important figure to know!) and how much you could save by making extra payments.

Now that you have an idea of where you want to move to and about how much you can spend on a home, you need to find houses that are both in your desired neighborhood and in the price range you want. The Internet has websites where you can type in a specific address and get an estimated value of your desired home. Alternatively, you could enter a zip code or city and see an aerial map, move the map around, zoom in, and be shown an estimated value for every home on a street. When you see a house you’re curious about, you can select it and see a photo taken from the ground as well as information such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, when the home was built, the size of the property, what type of roof it has (shake, asphalt, etc), etc.

If you look for a home as described above, most of the homes you find will probably not be for sale. So an alternative method is to search first for homes that are for sale in your desired neighborhood, and once you have found one, use a valuation tool to see if the sale price is in line with the estimated value and with the value of neighboring homes. The online valuation tool you use may be able to limit results to homes that are on the market, or you may want to use one of the many other websites that show homes for sale. The help of a real estate agent can always be useful in addition to these online resources.

If you’re like most people, you’ll need to obtain a mortgage loan in order to buy the home you decide on. While many loan programs are similar, lenders do differ. When choosing where to get a loan, you might consider the following questions. How quickly can this lender close your loan? What types of loan programs does the lender have, and which loan is best for you? How competitive are the lender’s rates? How convenient is the lender? Will you be able to upload supporting documents over the lender’s secure system or will you have to spend money to mail the documents? Will you have to drive somewhere to sign the final documents, or will the lender send the notary to your home or office?

By utilizing the tools mentioned in this article, you will be able to research cities, find homes for sale, calculate how much you can afford, learn home values, and find the best mortgage lender. May you find the process exciting and enjoy your new home!

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