Have you been thinking about buying a house but don’t know where to begin? A good way to start would be to speak with your local mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers act as an intermediary between you—the borrower—and a mortgage lender. A broker doesn’t lend you the money directly but can help you find the right mortgage loan for your needs. A broker can also do the legwork of researching different lenders and make your loan process simpler.
With interest rates at a 12-month low, it’s the right time to take advantage of cheap money. When you meet with a mortgage broker, they will take the time to sit with you and match a program tailored to your financial situation. Different programs offer different down payment options which, in turn, require distinct qualification guidelines. The biggest qualification guideline to consider is your debt to income ratio. This is calculated using your gross monthly income compared to your monthly debt payments (mortgage, credit cards, car loan etc.) in order to see how much you qualify for. After meeting all the qualifications, your mortgage professional will supply you with a prequalification letter which will then be given to your real estate professional.
Real estate professionals will meet with you and discuss your home buying needs during a home buyer consultation. During this meeting, which can take place anywhere from the office to a bar, he/she will assist you in clarifying what you really want in a home. This is an important first step to acquiring the right home for your lifestyle.
Now, this is where the fun part begins–house hunting! The first thing you should do is brainstorm what type of house you could see yourself living in. Do you want a yard, a pool, a finished basement? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? What’s your style? You’ll want to have your "wish list" together when you meet with your real estate agent at the buyer consultation. Once you know what you’re looking for, your real estate agent can start sending houses your way.
Once you find one you like, you will schedule a "showing". At the showing you’ll want to walk around the house and jot down the positives and negatives:
A good realtor will point out the things you need to watch out for but ultimately, it comes down to the home inspection (which is done after your offer is accepted). The home inspector will examine the property within 10 days and point out all of the major defects in the house. Your real estate agent will gather all the information and negotiate with the seller to either have these problems fixed or give you a credit to make the repairs after settlement.
Once you find the perfect home, your real estate agent will walk you step by step through the documentation needed to write an offer. Remember, it’s a sellers’ market right now, which means there is a lot of competition when bidding on a home. You will want to make your offer strong and have everything ready to pull the trigger. Your real estate professional will no doubt have a few tricks up their sleeve to help you win the bid on the house of your dreams.
If you or someone you know is looking for a mortgage consultant and real estate agent, be sure to check out Pat McRae with Pike Creek Mortgage Services, Inc., and Johnny Saraceno with Weichert Realtors. With $20 million in home sales, and close to 120 homes sold, you can trust that Johnny and Pat will work together to help you buy, sell, or refinance your home.
Submitted by SCCCC members:
Pike Creek Mortgage Services, Inc.
Johnny Saraceno-Weichert Realtors