“I want to buy a house, but I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. Can you help me?” Absolutely. I had a client say that to me this week. Buying a house is a simple, yet complicated process. If you’re truly ready when you start looking at houses, it’s simple. If you’re not, if can become complicated.
They type of house you buy can be simple or complicated. A fair market purchase can be reasonably uncomplicated, but don’t depend on that. In contrast, short sales and foreclosures can be complicated, but here again, don’t always expect that. Let’s start at the beginning. There are a couple important steps that can get you prepared for a home purchase.
- How much home can you afford? It doesn’t matter what you see with your eyes if you can’t materialize it with your wallet. You should visit a lender who can get you, at a minimum, pre-qualified to buy a house. I prefer that you get pre-approved. When that happens, you will have more paperwork involved and you will be more certain of the limits of your purchase. It’s a great place to start. It will help you discover danger signs in your credit history, or it might just offer you a pat on the back for a great track record. Until you go, you won’t know the fullness of it.
- Where do you want to live? City, county, subdivision, rural, townhouse, condo, single family detached? This community, that community? Where? Real estate is always location, location, location. Your location will affect the price of the house as much as the style and size of the house.
- What type of house do you need, want or desire, and those three are not necessarily the same thing. You should list what you actually need. What are the basics you must have? Then, list what you want. What do you want beyond basic necessities? Finally, if money was no object, what would you like in a home? Those dreams do happen, even with a limited budget.
- When do you want to move? That time-line may affect what type of house buy. A short sale may take longer than a fair market sale or a foreclosure purchase, but you might get more house for the money too. Also, if you have time to wait, you might consider a VHDA or USDA loan. They are government backed loans, and they take a little longer to complete but they have numerous advantages too.
- Do you understand the importance of a Realtor to your purchase? A buyer’s agent is your first line of defense against being taken advantage of. Your agent can help find the right house for you. He/she can help you see things you might miss when looking at houses. He/she can help you determine if a house is overpriced or a true value based upon neighbor and area comps. He/she is also there to protect your best interests. A good agent can help you see the advantages and disadvantages of certain homes. He/she can steer you to the right lenders, home inspectors, insurance providers, closing companies and attorneys, and he/she can make sure you get across the finish-line with the home of your dreams.
When you’re ready to take that step, give your Cornerstone representative a call (540-722-6029). We’ll walk you through the process, and we’ll help you find the home that meets your needs. Experience counts, and Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., is in the business of making things happen everyday.
“I want to buy a house, but I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. Can you help me?”