When buying a house, many people have checklist of what they want included in the property itself. But there are a few additional things home buyers should consider looking into before making their final offer. While the house might meet be the home of your dreams, the surrounding areas and other necessary information should be a priority as well.
Crime Report: Look into the crimes that have been reported in the area. Check the sex offender’s registry. Be aware of your surroundings
Schools: Every school is given a rating and when having school ages children; it would be beneficial to know what school your child will be zoned for.
Surrounding businesses: How far away is the closest grocery store or gas station? Be pleased with the businesses you will have to frequent.
Noise Factor: Is the home close to the freeway? Airport? Will outside noise be a big issue for you?
Visit home at different times of day: The home will look different at night compared to the day. Check out the street lighting. Pay attention to any additional outside noise that might occur at night.
Consider the commute: Try to find multiple ways in and out of the neighborhood you are considering in order to get to and from work.
Street Parking: While this isn’t always an issue, some neighborhoods have only certain areas for vehicles leaving very little space for visitors or additional cars.
Drive around the neighborhood: Are there a lot of kids? Are the yards nice? Most HOAs take yards and community cleanliness into consideration but it is also a great thing to look into yourself.
Remember to be happy with your surroundings and the perfect house will be there for you.
Purchasing your own home is one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences you can have. However, one of the hardest parts of becoming a home owner is getting your down payment together. While there are many different loan types available, several require a 20 percent down payment. Trying to get that money together can be difficult and will require a few years of commitment.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help to reach that 20 percent.
Calculate what you can afford– First thing you need to decide on is your budget. How much do you want to spend on a house and what will the down payment be? What is the ultimate goal? Knowing what you need and having a set number in mind can help ease anxiety and help jump start the savings. I can help you calculate numbers to see what best suits your life.
Budget– Decide how much money needs to go to specific areas in your life (bills, grocery, gas, play) and any overage can allow for a small amount to go towards your savings goal.
Open an account– Have one account that is strictly for your down payment. Do not borrow money from this account for other expenses. Budgeting in a small amount to be deposited in monthly will help slowly, but surely, build the account. When bonuses are given, put these directly into this account.
Splurge less– Try to skip a coffee run and instead prepare your drinks from home or eat in more than dining out. These few dollars every day can add up quickly over the years.
Visualize the goal– While it may take years to get the whole 20 percent together, visualizing and setting steps towards that goal can be very rewarding. Setting small yearly goals (save $2000 this year) and meeting them will very satisfying to see how much closer you are to owning your new home.
Don’t force it– Remember to be consistent and in time it will all work out. It may be a long process but in the end, you will be happy to have that 20 percent down, with lower payments and a great investment.
While most of the country is huddled indoors for the winter, Las Vegas, Nevada enjoys spring-like weather in February which makes it the perfect month to start looking for your next home. Whether you are looking for a dream home in Summerlin, a ranch in Henderson, or your first home in North Las Vegas, there are a number of things you can do to make your home buying process run smoothly.
- Credit Report: Take a look at your credit report and address any issues that may be affecting your credit score. The higher your credit score, the better the rates will be for your loan.
- Loan Officer: Select a loan officer. Ask you friends and realtor if they recommend a lender but don’t feel that you have to go with that person if they are not a good match. Select an experienced loan officer with a stellar reputation who is personable and available to answer your questions as they come up.
- Loan Fees: Make sure your lender fully discloses all fees. Some lenders tack on a loan origination fee or processing fee where others do not. No need to spend money on unnecessary lending fees. Make sure to compare rates when selecting a mortgage lender.
- Get Prequalified: Serious home buyers begin their search by becoming prequalified with their lender. Being prequalified tells a prospective seller that you are can obtain a loan. If you decide to make an offer on a home, the seller will consider prequalified buyers more strongly than others which comes in handy when a home receives more than one offer. Besides, when you are prequalified for a loan, you know exactly what you can afford, which helps narrow your search.
- Down Payment: Depending on the type of loan you get, the amount of money needed for a down payment will vary. FHA and VA loans offer smaller down payments but a conventional loan may be your best option if you have 20 percent to put down on the home. A 20 percent down lets you avoid Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI, (which protects the lender should you fail to make payments).
- Make an Offer: Chances are, you will find just the perfect home for your needs and taste. When that time comes, feel assured that you’ve taken every step to prepare yourself for home ownership. Your Realtor® will walk you through the offer process until you and the seller reach an agreement and have a contract.
- Complete the Home Loan: With a contract in place, your loan officer will get to work gathering various documents and processing your loan to get you the best rate possible. Before you know it, you’ll be handed the keys to your new Las Vegas home!
Buying a new home, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, is often both an exciting and stressful process. There are things you can do as a homebuyer that will decrease the stress side of the equation significantly so that when you find that perfect home, it can be smooth sailing through the closing process.
- Start with a mortgage loan prequalification: Financing is pivotal to purchasing a home for most homebuyers. Serious buyers should become prequalified for a home loan before they begin shopping. Being preapproved means the sellers will take your offer seriously while helping you clarify what you can and cannot afford. Serious changes like a change of job or default on bills during the loan making process can still jeopardize you loan – just report them to your loan officer right away to minimize harm.
- Have your down payment ready: Seldom does it work out for buyers who shop for a home before they have their down payment saved. It is tough to pull together large sums of money in a short time. Certain prepayments and other financial settlements are due at closing that do not count towards a home’s down payment so make sure you are financially prepared.
- Debt ratio and credit profile: Now is the time to resolve any outstanding credit profile problems. Consolidate debt, if necessary, to decrease monthly payments and pay off what you can. Generally speaking, your monthly expenses cannot exceed 45% of your monthly income.
- Don’t write-off your buying power: Business owners and those who are self-employed are able to write-off business expenses to minimize their taxable income. Keep in mind that excessive tax write-offs will lower your purchasing power since it plays a critical factor in your debt to income ratio.
- Don’t skimp on home inspections: A thorough home inspection including a separate termite and lead (if applicable) inspection may save you thousands in unexpected costs. Be sure to make you offer contingent upon findings. The buyer has the right to ask the seller to repair any problems with the home or adjust the purchase price pursuant to inspection findings. In extreme cases, inspections save homebuyers from the nightmare of purchasing a home in severe disrepair.
- Be prepared to discuss in detail these additional issues with your loan officer:
- Self-employment of two years or less
- The origin of and terms of any gift money or secured loans for down payment
- Any debts of which you are a co-signer
- Previous short-sales, foreclosures or bankruptcy in the past seven years
- Debt related to the IRS or spousal alimony/child support
- A new job including part-time work
- Deferred student loans
The good news is that whether you have a high credit score with a solid payment history or you lost a home through foreclosure or short-sale, an experienced, customer-focused loan officer is likely to have a loan product that will work for you as long as you’ve done your part in preparing to enter the market. Happy home hunting!