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The Real Estate Corner
Take the fear out of homebuying
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 • Posted January 12, 2012 2:56 PM

With the current low mortgage interest rates and available homebuyer programs, some renters are deciding taking the plunge into homeownership. Are you one of them?

The complexity of the transaction and the increased financial obligations can make buying a home seem a little scary, but you can arm yourself with information. A little research and some help from your Texas realtor can reduce stress and increase your satisfaction with the homebuying process. Here are some tips to help you avoid making common first-time homebuyer mistakes.

Finding the right realtor – Whether you find your Texas realtor on the internet, through a yard sign, a newspaper ad, or a referral, make sure you openly communicate your concerns and expectations. As a first-time buyer, you have specific needs and may need a little more guidance. Your realtor will guide you through the process, from determining your criteria during the home search to walking you through the paperwork at closing.

What can you afford? – Many first-time homebuyers are apprehensive about the mortgage lending process. Don’t let that prevent you from asking questions. If you fail to ask a question that arises, you may miss out on the best deals you qualify for or a key piece of information. From below-market interest rates to down-payment and closing-cost assistance, there are a variety of affordable-housing programs available to first-time homebuyers. Failing to investigate them or assuming you won’t qualify would be a big mistake.

Think about resale – A common mistake that many first-time homebuyers make is not thinking about the property’s resale value before they buy. It might seem a little odd to consider what the home will sell for before you’ve even decided to buy it, but it’s a big factor. The average first-time homebuyer stays in the home less than 10 years, so it makes sense to analyze the home’s resale value from the beginning. Your Texas realtor can help you identify factors that contribute to a property’s resale value.

Find the balance – Buying your first home may require a little bit of compromise on your part. For example, you may have to choose between a new home in a new subdivision and an older home with a big yard and established trees. Since you may have to compromise on one or more features or details, it’s important to narrow down what criteria are most important to you.

Start out by prioritizing your wants and needs and don’t let the emotional component steer you away from those goals. I don’t mean that you should settle …it’s good to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic. You’ll never entirely remove your emotions from the process; just make sure your rational brain steers your decisions, too.

Get it inspected – A property inspection is mandatory for many types of home loans. Even if it isn’t required, I strongly encourage you to not only get the property inspected but to be present during the process and ask the inspector questions. This could be your house and you’ll want to know as much about it as possible.

Consider all costs – When determining just how much home you can afford, make sure you figure in all the costs. There are many expenses to consider when buying a home, including property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities, maintenance, and, depending on the neighborhood, homeowners association fees. If you max out your budget on the mortgage alone, you may find yourself in over your head. Before you talk with a lender, sit down with your Texas realtor and determine just how much home you can afford.

Buying your first home can be a daunting experience, but a Texas realtor can help guide you through the maze, reduce your anxiety and help you become a homeowner.

For more consumer-friendly advice on real estate in Texas, I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.

For your real estate needs, contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000.

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