Before you can buy a home, especially a first home, you'll first need to answer questions such as, how much can you afford to spend? What homes are in your price range? How much cash will you need to make the purchase? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you decide if you're ready to buy a house.
If you're not ready to buy, you may need to spend some more time saving before you can purchase a property. These tips will help you get started with your home-buying budget.
Look at Homes
Get a sense for how much you can expect to spend on a home by looking at properties in areas where you want to buy. Explore different neighborhoods in different price ranges, to get a sense of how much you can get in each price range.
Make a wish-list, and look at homes that meet your criteria. Note the prices of these properties. Look at online listings and go see homes in person. Sometimes homes look very different in person than they do online, so this step is important.
Contact a Lender
Once you've looked at homes and are feeling a little informed about what's available in each price range, contact lenders to find out how much you would be approved to purchase. It helps to get pre-approved (versus pre-qualified), because pre-approval is a more reliable gauge of your ability to borrow money.
You may find after getting pre-approved for a mortgage that you can't afford as much as you thought, or that you can afford a lot more than you anticipated. You may need to adjust your search accordingly.
The lender may approve you for what seems like a large sum. Borrowing the maximum amount that you're approved to borrow could lead to hardship when the time comes to make your monthly mortgage payments.
Work with your lender to determine what is a realistic amount. Your lender can tell you how much you can expect to pay monthly depending on how much you borrow. If you need help, work with a financial planner to decide how much you can safely pay back.
Know Your Down Payment
Remember that the down payment is a percentage of the home price. The more expensive the home, the more cash you must have on hand for the down payment.
The type of loan will also impact your down payment. Some loans require a down payment as little as 3.5%, others require a down payment of at least 20%. Some loans (like VA loans) require no down payment at all. Work with your lender to decide what kind of loan is right for you, and how much you can expect to pay for the down payment.
Account for Home Changes, Moving Expenses, and Other Fees
Moving can cost thousands of dollars, depending on where you're moving and how far you're going. In addition to the moving expenses, you'll need to have money for:
- Closing costs. Closing costs are the administrative, legal, and government fees due when escrow closes, usually coming to about 2% to 5% of the cost of the house.
- Appraisal costs. Lenders require home buyers to have the home appraised before they'll approve a loan; this is paid for by the buyer.
- Home inspection. Most home buyers will get a home inspection, which usually costs a few hundred dollars.
Your lender and real estate agent can help you anticipate these costs. To find out how much your moving expenses will be, work with a moving company to get an estimate during the escrow period.
Work with a Real Estate Professional
The best way to avoid surprises and be informed during the Clarksville TN home buying process is to work with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate professional. If you're thinking about buying a home, call a real estate agent today to get started.
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!