General Question

scubydoo's avatar

What's the best way to look into buying a house?

Asked by scubydoo (751 points ) January 30th, 2008

when you’re looking to purchase a house would it be best to talk to an advisor at a bank to see how much you could afford? It there a better alternative than going through your bank? Or would it be better to talk to a realitor to find out whats availiable in your area? It would of course be a first time buyer. are there any site that help in the matter?

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11 Answers

Patlutz's avatar

I would recommend talking to a local Real Estate agent, since they would be able to find you a suitable home to fit your price range and other specifications.

You can also look into a new home yourself, as there are many great resources out there such as Real Estate television channels. Looking for a new home by yourself is also beneficial because it allows you to search for a suitable home and won’t cost you anything.

Bri_L's avatar

There are also various lending programs for first time buyers depending on the state you are in. another good place to start is the local government website. They will tend to give you information that you need to her and should hear.

Another thing to keep in mind, at least in my experience and maybe this has changed with the late trouble the lenders are in, the lenders always wanted to get us to borrow more than we were comfortable with. Make sure you have a very good idea of your monthly bills and expenses so that you have a realistic idea of what you could afford in a mortgage payment.

artemisdivine's avatar

yes ALWAYS know what you can afford (how much money the bank or whoever is willing to loan you its the MOST IMPORTANT purchase of your life) sure the better alternative than the bank is having wealthy parents/family loan you the money interest free and RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. timing is EVERYTHING especially in real estate there are a lot of good deals out there now.

but there is advice out there to buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood and fix it up which is sound advice. cause location + resale value counts most. and learn about those tax deductions!

Nine steps to buying a home
Figure out how much you can afford
Know your rights
Shop for a loan
Learn about homebuying programs
Shop for a home
Make an offer
Get a home inspection
Shop for homeowners insurance
Sign papers
http://www.look4aproperty.com/property-guides/buying/first-time.asp

First time buyers can find it confusing to enter the world of house buying. The first thing you think you should do is to find a house, right? Wrong. If you pursue this route, the house could be snapped up from under your nose while you struggle to find financing.
http://ezinearticles.com/?First-Lessons-In-First-Time-Buying&id=936302

Houseownership is becoming a reality for more and more Americans. The US houseownership rate reached 67.7%, the highest rate ever. Yet many Americans don’t realize that houseownership is within their grasp
http://www.house.com/housetips.asp

Buying your first home is a huge step. When you leave the world of renting behind, you begin building equity in an investment. And Uncle Sam is there to help ease the pain of high mortgage payments. The deductions now available to you as a homeowner will reduce your tax bill substantially. And, if you have been claiming the standard deduction up until now, the extra write-offs from owning a home almost certainly will make you an itemizer. Suddenly, the state taxes you pay and your charitable gifts will earn you tax-saving deductions, too.
http://www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/2007/01/firsthome.html

How to Buy a House: A Beginner’s Guide
There is no doubt that the market for houses has been cooling off recently. More and more home buyers are taking advantage of better bargain deals and easy mortgage loan terms to go from being renters to being home owners. With so many people entering the market, it is inevitable that questions, “How to buy a house?”, will arise.
http://www.buy-and-sell-house-fast.com/buy-house/buy-a-house.shtml

Here you will find helpful hints, checklists and “To-Do” lists for buying a home, as well as links to other sources of information. If you are a first-time home buyer, begin with our section devoted to buying your first home. Don’t go into your housing purchase unprepared—get all the tools you need right here.Know what you need? See Quick Links to credit reports, mortgages, insurance and more.
http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/

Below you’ll find an article with some good first time home buying tips. The best thing you can do if you are buying a home for the first time is to educate yourself in every aspect of the process. You can start here, but don’t forget to visit the other pages. The navigation bar at the top of this page will take you to pages on everything from financing to how to research new towns. Good luck!
http://www.housesunderfiftythousand.com/first-time-home-buying-tips.html

So the time has come for you to purchase a new home. Purchasing a new home is by far one of the largest financial transactions you will ever make in your life, so you will want to take your time and learn as much as you can about the mortgage industry.
http://www.explainingmortgages.com/a-first-home-buying-1-home_purchase.htm

Here’s your free 34-page guide
I’m a real estate investor. I’ve bought and sold a few homes so I’m in a good position to explain how to buy a house to first-time home buyers. I’m not a realtor, and I’m not trying to sell you anything. I created this site only to share my knowledge of home-buying with others; I wanted to create the guide that I wish I had when I was a rookie home buyer.
http://michaelbluejay.com/house/

In his 1990 book Washington Homes, author and real estate broker Jim Stacey claims that there are three stages for the first-time home buyer: contemplation, comparison and commitment. He urges prospective buyers to get through the first stage on their own, with the help of friends and family members. The road between contemplation and being ready to commit to buying a house is arduous and emotional, and Stacey has learned that the best use of a broker’s time and skills is to enter the fray after buyers have done some preliminary footwork.
http://realestate.msn.com/buying/article.aspx?cp-documentid=24838

Before You Buy Your First Home – Tips for First-time Home Buyers
http://homebuying.about.com/od/buyingahome/bb/shopping1sttime.htm

ccatron's avatar

figure out how much you think you can afford to pay monthly for a house and property taxes by writing down your monthly income and comparing that to your expenses and other debts. look at a real estate site like http://realestate.yahoo.com and figure out what size of house you want to see how much it might cost. make sure you look at some different locations or areas to see what houses are selling for in those areas. this site in particular has a mortgage calculator, which is very helpful. now, here’s the tricky part. since you are a first time home owner, you may or may not get a good rate depending on your credit. set the interest rate at a high number like 7% or maybe 6.5%. We have excellent credit and were only able to get a 5.89% rate last summer….but, from what i understand, the rates were cut again this week.

now that you’ve figured out what you think can afford, it might be time to talk to a Realtor. the first thing they will tell you to do is get pre-approved or pre-qualified. go to your bank if you like or check out http://www.lendingtree.com. Lending Tree is good to use for reference, at least. they gave us comparable rates from lending companies which we were able to use to get a better rate from a local company. It helps to have a down payment, but they do have programs to help you if you don’t have that kind of money.

ok, once you’re pre-approved/pre-qualified, you’ll know how much you can get a loan for. pick out some areas in which you’d like to go house hunting and talk to your realtor. he or she will be able to tell you about some of the other costs associated with where you would like to move.

hope that helps a little.

cwilbur's avatar

I’d say the first serious step should be talking to a real estate agent in the area you’re trying to buy in. Yes, it’s very important to know how much you can afford before you start looking at houses—but any good real estate agent will know that too. Since they don’t get paid unless you buy, showing you houses you can’t afford is a waste of their time, the real estate agents will want you to be pre-qualified as well.

The reason it’s good to ask a real estate agent before arranging for financing is because the agent will know about things like special state programs for first-time home buyers, or for minority or women home buyers, and the agent may have contacts at mortgage companies that he or she can use to help get you approved.

Also, especially in the current climate, it’s very wise to get your credit report ahead of time and make sure it’s accurate. If you really do have credit issues, there’s not much you can do, but if something’s on there in error you want to get it fixed.

And finally, read the fine print and be realistic, not idealistic. There are a lot of people in trouble now because they didn’t do either and got an adjustable rate mortgage that they now can’t afford.

seek2be's avatar

i would recommend putting it off two years and let to market completely crash first. Then you can buy at the lowest possible price.

Bri_L's avatar

@cwilbur – good points all.

If you can, get pre-approved as well. It may make the difference between getting and not getting the house if it is of interest.

sarahsugs's avatar

I would add to everything above that you should go ahead and start going to Open Houses in your area to get a feel for pricing and to start thinking about what you like and don’t like. Just look in the real estate section of your local newspaper and go to anything that is in your potential price range or in the neighborhood(s) that you like or just that sounds intriguing. I was really glad that I did this by myself for about 6 months (here and there, when I had the time) BEFORE working with a real estate agent. That way I didn’t have to report back to anyone, I didn’t feel any pressure about anything, and I could just come to some of my own conclusions about what I liked and what I felt were reasonable versus high prices, etc. It’s also really fun to just see different kinds of homes and imagine yourself living there (or not, if you hate it :)). Then by the time you do start working with a real estate agent you’ll already have a sense of the market and your tastes.

sarahsugs's avatar

Also, when it comes time to make offers, don’t automatically eliminate something because the price is slightly higher than what you thought you could afford. We fell in love with a house that was a little more than what we had originally budgeted, but when we did the research we discovered that borrowing more money (like another $10,000) has an almost neglible effect (like $30) on the monthly payment when spread out over 30 years. Obviously don’t go over the top, but keep an open mind as well.

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RomanRealtors's avatar

wow some good answers here

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