| Buying a Home: A Starting Point
Review home buying basics. Click here
| Buying vs. Renting
Find out if home ownership is right for you. Click here
| Mortgage Calculator
Estimate monthly mortgage payments. Click here
| Choosing a Loan
Learn about the full range of mortgage options. Click here
| Choosing a Lender
Determine which option is right for you. Click here
|Money and Finance
Tips and hints for your money . Click here
Reports to help you become a more informed buyer. Click here
See the current conditions and trends. Click here
Tips to help you along during the home buying process. Click here
Your Plan1. Find the right representative
Even if you’re not quite ready to buy, your buyer’s agent can be an absolute wealth of information, and can often offer ‘scoops’ on local developments you might not have know about otherwise. Speak to your agent first and he or she can be helping to guide you right from the start.
2. Find out what your price range is
Online mortgage calculators are a good place to start, but as you get closer to being ready to buy, there is no substitute for a written mortgage pre-approval. Just speaking to your lender is an extremely worthwhile venture – this is the only way to really get an in-depth picture of your overall financial picture and to discover exactly what you can reasonably afford to spend on a home (and possibly on renovating).
3. Find out what your local market looks like
The internet can be incredibly valuable in doing preparatory research. Start with your agent – he or she can direct you to valuable resources and immediately start e-mailing you real estate listings that may interest you (or at least give you a better idea of what your needs and wants are).
4. Find out what your true needs and wants are
Compose a needs/wants list that takes into consideration your local market conditions, your price range, and the advice of your real estate agent.
5. Find your dream home!
Once you’re ready to act, you may be surprised by how quickly you can make a decision. Armed with your pre-approval, a little market knowledge, and your needs/wants list, call your real estate agent, hit the pavement, and when you see ‘the house’, put in an offer.
With the right team behind you, it really can be that easy!
Your TeamYour Agent
A successful purchase starts with the right representative. In fact, once you’ve selected the best agent to represent you, it is likely that he or she can recommend other professionals to join your team, taking more of the responsibility off of your shoulders.
A bank is not just a bank. Your lender can be a bank, but it can also be a mortgage company or a mortgage broker. There are a variety of mortage types and variations even within the same type of mortgage. Having the right backer can be extremely important – it is your money we’re talking about after all! Make sure that your lender and financial representative is someone with whom you feel comfortable, and be wary of any lender who promises you more than you think you can reasonably afford. Your lender will require an appraisal, and typically will make those arrangements themselves. Your Realtor can usually recommend some lenders in the local area.
In PA, this is not required but if you are dealing with an estate, going through a divorce or have other legal issues, this will become an important part of your team. Your home purchase is far too important a transaction to skimp on legal representation. Find a lawyer who is willing to take the time to answer your questions and who specializes in real estate law.
No home inspection is 100% guaranteed, but a few hundred dollars to catch a major problem now is certainly better than many thousands to correct that ‘surprise’ down the road. Ask your agent for a recommendation. There are other inspections that you may want or need. These can be for wood destroying insects, radon and if not public, water and septic. Again, let your agent guide you in which inspections would be best for you.
Planning some renovations? You’re not the only one! In some markets, booking a contractor must be done months in advance (that’s a long time to go without a kitchen). Don’t let finding the right contractor slip through the cracks – planning ahead will almost certainly make your renovation smoother, and you contractor will appreciate the advance notice.