In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, consider the following: Is there enough room for both the present and the future? Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms? Is the house 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? (Bring a tape measure to better answer these qusetions) Does anything need to be repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair or replace the items? Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will you be happy with it year? 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. Using a scorecard to keep track of the homes you see is a great way to keep organized.
Payments remain the same for the life of the loan. Types: 15-year; 30-year. Advantages: Predictable, Housing cost remains unaffected by interest rate changes and inflation.
There are three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Obtaining your credit report is as easy as calling and requesting one. Once you receive the report, it's important to verify its accuracy. Double-check the "high credit limit", "total loan," and "past due" columns. It's a good idea to get copies from all three companies to assure there are no mistakes since any of the three could be providing a report to your lender. Fees, ranging from $5-$20, are usually charged to issue credit reports but some states permit citizens to acquire a free one. Contact the reporting companies at the numbers listed for more information. Experian 1-800-682-7654, Equifax 1-800-685-1111, Trans Union 1-800-916-8800
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, helps people by administering a variety of programs that develop and support affordable housing. Specifically, HUD plays a large role in homeownership by making loans available for lower- and moderate-income families through its FHA mortgage insurance program and its HUD Homes program. HUD owns homes in many communities throughout the U.S. and offers them for sale at attractive prices and economical terms. HUD also seeks to protect consumers through education, Fair Housing Laws, and rehabilitation initiatives.
Narrowing your search for the perfect home can be a little easier if you start with a few neighborhoods and work your way out. Keep in mind access to shopping, schools and your more travelled routes.
Because many buyers prefer to move in the spring or summer, the real estate market starts to heat up as early as February. Families with children are anxious to buy so they can move during summer vacation, before the new school year begins. The market slows down in late summer before picking up again briefly in the fall. November and December have traditionally been slow months, although some astute buyers look for bargains during this period.
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.
Payments increase or decrease on a regular schedule with changes in interest rates; increases subject to limits. Types: Balloon Mortgage - Offers very low rates for an initial period of time (usually 5, 7, or 10 years); when time has elapsed, the balance is due or refinanced (though not automatically). Two-Step Mortgage - Interest rate adjusts only once and remains the same for the life of the loan; ARMS linked to a specific index or margin. Advantages: Generally offer lower initial interest rates; Monthly payments can be lower; May allow borrower to qualify for a larger loan amount.
A credit bureau score is a number, based upon your credit history that represents the possibility that you will be unable to repay a loan. Lenders use it to determine your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan. The better the score, the better your chances are of getting a loan. Ask your lender for details.
Now an agency within HUD, the Federal Housing Administration was established in 1934 to advance opportunities for Americans to own homes. By providing private lenders with mortgage insurance, the FHA gives them the security they need to lend to first-time buyers who might not be able to qualify for conventional loans. The FHA has helped more than 26 million Americans buy a home.