Contact the local chamber of commerce for promotional literature or talk to your real estate agent about welcome kits, maps, and other information. You may also want to visit the local library. It can be an excellent source for information on local events and resources, and the librarians will probably be able to answer many of the questions you have.
If you live in a flood plain, the lender will require that you have flood insurance before lending any money to you. But if you live near a flood plain, you may choose whether or not to get flood insurance coverage for your home. Work with an insurance agent to construct a policy that fits your needs.
The amount of the down payment, the size of the mortgage loan, the interest rate, the length of the repayment term and payment schedule will all affect the size of your mortgage payment.
A Good Faith Estimate is one that lists all fees paid before closing, all closing costs, and any escrow costs you will encounter when purchasing a home. The lender must supply it within three days of your application so that you can make accurate judgments when shopping for a loan.
This is the most commonly used FHA program. It offers a low down payment, flexible qualifying guidelines, limited lender's fees, and a maximum loan amount.
Sellers will sometimes opt to remain in the house after closing via a short-term rental agreement. As the new owner, be sure the purchase contract and rental agreement stipulates that the sellers repair any damage they cause after the closing date.
Have a time frame in mind when you buy a home, and let it guide your purchase. If you plan to start (or expand) a family in the near future, a studio is not a good idea. If you want a home in which you can age in place, or want to preserve that option, consider a ranch-style dwelling on one level, rather than a multilevel dwelling with stairs.
One reason there are few bidders at foreclosure sales is that it is next to impossible to get financing for such a property. You generally need to show up with cash and lots of it, or a line of credit with your bank upon which you can draw cashier's checks.
Your real estate agent can give you a ballpark figure by showing you comparable listings. If you are working with a realtor, they may have access to comparable sales maintained on a database.
Always check to see if the house is in a low-lying area, in a high-risk area for natural disasters (like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.), or in a hazardous materials area. Be sure the house meets building codes. Also consider local zoning laws, which could affect remodeling or making an addition in the future. Your real estate agent should be able to help you with these questions.