Buyer Information

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Home Buying Information

  • What Every Buyer Should Know

    Buying a home is one of the largest financial commitments a person can make in his or her lifetime. It’s especially critical for first-time buyers to make informed decisions about the investment that they are about to make.

    B 4 professionals offer these tips to first-time homebuyers to help make the process easier.

    Define your wants versus your needs. Making a list of wants and needs before beginning the search for a home can make the entire process less overwhelming.

    Check your credit rating. Being approved for a mortgage is critical and a very easy process. Having a pre-approval in hand affords a buyer strength in negotiating, particularly important in a highly competitive marketplace, which many first-time home buyers encounter.”v

    Investigate the neighborhood. Where are the schools and places of worship? How far is the nearest hospital or grocery store? Is commercial garbage collection available or do homeowners dispose of their own trash? These are basic, yet important, questions that some first timers may not think of until after closing on a property.

    Insist on a home inspection. Attend property inspections, be aware of environmental concerns and ask questions. A small investment of time and money could save buyers a lot of headaches down the road. Look for a property with a home warranty. Home Warranty offers a comprehensive insured home warranty that decreases the likelihood of a sale failing due to unexpected surprises.

    Get help with the details. Coordinating these and the many details of a move can be overwhelming for even the most experienced homebuyer. Look for a real estate company that can help coordinate related services

  • 10 Steps to Buying a Home

    Before you start looking for a home you should ask yourself a few questions.

    Where do you want to live? Do you want to be close to schools, shopping, or work? What kind of house would you like (need)? Are you looking for a particular style? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want? What size of a house do you want? Do you want a yard? Home much house can you afford?

    Here is some help.

    10 Steps to Prepare for Home Ownership

    1. Decide how much home you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between 2 and 3 times your gross income. A good way to determine how much your payment will be is to take 1% of the loan value and that should be close to your monthly payment (This includes your payment, taxes, hazard insurance and interest)
    2. Develop a wish list of what you’d like your home to have. Then prioritize the features on your list. Are you willing to do a little remodeling for a better price? There are bank foreclosures where you can get a better price because of the need for improvement. Your B 4 representative is a good source to get these listings.
    3. Select three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in. Consider items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety. You can go to your local city official website for additional information. By telling your B 4 representative you want a 3 bedroom in a certain city can bring up thousands of listings. Provide more detail on what you are looking for and we can get you your house.
    4. Determine if you have enough saved to cover your down payment and closing costs. Closing costs, including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price. Keep in mind of out of pocket expenses as Inspection, Appraisal etc. These are items you may have to pay for prior to closing. There are many lenders with 100% loans, but you will still need closing costs.
    5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report. Contact a credit repair agency if necessary.
    6. Determine how large a mortgage you can qualify for. Also explore different loans options and decide what’s best for you. There are many 100% loans with excellent rates. You can figure on 1% of the loan to be your monthly payment (this includes taxes and insurance).
    7. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to pre-approve you for a loan. Items such as:
      • Proof of address of past 2 years.
      • Employer name and address last 2 years.
      • Copy of last 2 years W-2 forms.
      • Pay stubs covering full 30 day period (indicating YTD)
      • SSN# and and Drivers License Number for all applicants.
      • Last 3 month bank statements (must show name, address, account#/balance)
      • List of creditors (i.e. car loans, charge accounts).
      • Statements reflecting stocks, bonds, real estate, life insurance values and bank statements.
    8. Do research to determine if you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs.
    9. Calculate the costs of homeownership, including property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and association fees, if applicable.
    10. Contact your B 4 Realtor immediately to locate your new home.

  • Do I Really Need an Inspection?

    The Importance of an inspection

    The purchase of a home is one of the biggest investments people will make in their lifetimes. But it is also among the greatest sources of anxiety. A home inspection helps ensure homebuyers of the quality of their investment by making them aware of its condition and alerting them to any concerns. This can serve to relieve stress, increase confidence and provide knowledge in regards to your new home.

    Some of the benefits of a home inspection are:

    Knowledge:

    Understanding exactly what you’re buying – old or new and the condition of the house.

    Peace of mind:

    Helps in making a sound buying decision.

    Savings

    The home inspection reveals the need for repairs or replacements before you buy.

    Fewer surprises:

    The home inspection limits the number of problems you may discover after you move in.

    Education

    A good home inspection also gives you invaluable details about your new home in addition to information about the condition of the property. You’ll learn where the main shutoff valves to the utilities are located, how the house operates and more!

    How do I find a good home inspector?

    Most people think all inspection companies and inspectors are the same and the homebuyer will shop by the lowest price. By selecting the wrong company and saving a few dollars could cost you thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs. A novice inspector could miss more items than an experienced one and is why you get an experienced inspector. Consider the following when shopping for home inspection companies.

    Experience

    How much experience do the inspectors have and how long have they have been in the business? The best home inspectors have been in business for years and have seen hundreds of homes.

    Home Inspection Training

    Texas Real Estate Inspectors are required to go through extensive training and pass a comprehensive test in order to receive a license. Once the new inspector receives his license he can inspect houses. If the inspector does not take if upon himself to follow an experienced inspector for a period of time in order to get familiar with inspections, this could be disastrous.

    Association Membership:

    Is the inspector a member of a professional home inspection organization? Companies that are affiliated with professional organizations are serious about what they do, and know about all the new developments in their fields. Some well-known trade associations are: Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors (TAREI) American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). Inspectors in your area can be located through these associations.

    Inspectors are Generalist not Experts:

    There are many inspectors with backgrounds in certain service fields and are quite knowledgeable in those fields, but the majority of the inspectors have been trained in all the fields for a well rounded education. The inspector should be able to answer your questions in regards to your house.

    What if I’m buying a newly constructed home?

    An inspection on a new home is important for the buyer to level the playing field. As in any industry there are shortcuts and tricks of the trade in the construction business, and someone who is unfamiliar with them can easily miss them. A home inspector is better able to see nuances that may not be readily visible to an untrained eye. You also need an inspector to offset the builder’s or contractor’s interest. Much of the information about homes is either taken for granted by people, or remains unfound.

    For newly constructed homes, a “phase” inspection is an inspection of the house before the foundation is even poured. This type of inspection will cover the construction in phases. The first phase is when the foundation is about to be poured (this is for slab foundations). Then the inspector will come out after the foundation is poured and when the framework is completed. Once the construction is completed the inspector will come out prior to closing. By doing this type of inspection, any corrections needed are done prior to the next phase.

    Is a home inspection a warranty or a guarantee there is nothing wrong with the house?

    No. A home inspection is condition of the house at the time of inspection. The inspector cannot predict the future and cannot see through walls. Inspectors are limited to the inspection merely to the fact they are human. Inspectors are constantly increasing their skills by attending continuing education to provide professional service to their clients.

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