Frequently asked questions
What Do I Do Before Buying a Home?
1. Clean up your credit score. Your credit score will be reviewed by lenders, and it plays an important role in determining how much house you can buy. If you know you won’t be moving into a new house for at least six to eight months, you have plenty of time to do some legwork to clean up your credit. Order your free credit report from Equifax, TransUnion or Experian, and make sure it is free of any mistakes. If you do find an error, contact creditors to make sure everything is up-to-date, and have them send corrections to the credit bureaus as soon as possible.
2. Kick the credit card habit. Another step to cleaning up your credit history? Make sure you aren’t buried under credit card debt. Take steps to stop credit card spending, and consider using a balance-transfer credit card to reduce your debt load faster. Improving your credit will give your credit score a boost, and that will make you more attractive to lenders. A bonus? Kicking the credit card habit can help you get a handle on your finances so making mortgage payments isn’t overwhelming.
3. Hash out monthly payments. If credit card and loan payments make up a big percentage of your monthly payments, you may reduce your chances of getting an attractive mortgage loan offer. Taking steps to lower monthly payments can put you in a better financial position for a mortgage and also reduce some of the stress of making that mortgage payment each month.
4. Define exactly what you want. Your home is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make, and you need to have a clear idea of exactly what you are looking for before you begin the search. While you should get preapproved early in the process, don’t wait for the preapproval offer to narrow down the search. You need to determine what the non-negotiables are for your future home and what you are willing to compromise on. Take the time to list what features, floor plans and style of home you are most interested in; what type of neighborhood you want to live in; and other key details. A comprehensive list of wants and must-haves can make it easier to shop for a home and compare different properties during the search.
Look at available homes here
5. Get preapproved. It’s exciting to start the homebuying process by visiting
open houses, but it’s a good idea to have a preapproval letter in your pocket before you set foot in your dream home. Your preapproval letter will tell you how much you can really afford and make it easier to narrow down your search. Having that preapproval letter will also give you some negotiating power when you start working with sellers – you’ll have a greater chance of having an offer accepted when you have a letter stating that you are in a financial position to buy the home.
6. Commit to a savings plan. When you start thinking about moving, take the time to reorganize your budget and put together a savings plan for the down payment, closing costs and moving costs. Putting yourself in a position to make a larger down payment can save you money on mortgage payments in the long run and make you more attractive to the lender. Also, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, don’t overlook down payment assistance programs, if they exist in your area.
7. Set your own budget parameters. Even though you may be preapproved for a certain amount, there’s no rule that says you can’t set your own budget that’s less than your preapproval amount. Doing so can give you more confidence with your finances and may free up more money for discretionary expenses. Whether you want to have more money to travel or prefer to live with a higher disposable income, adjust your budget limits to suit your lifestyle.
What If I Am a First Time Home Buyer?
1. Take stock of your personal finances
You won’t be able to buy a home until you know what you can afford based on your personal finances. Be sure to keep track of your credit score and try to improve it as much as you can. The better your score is, the easier it will be for you to get approved for a loan. You should also determine how much you have saved up for a down payment. Generally, homebuyers are expected to put up between 5 and 20 percent of the price of a property as a down payment.
Research the local market
Long before you actually put an offer on a home, you should be monitoring the condition of the market in the area where you will be buying. Pay special attention to the length of time that most homes in your price range stay on the market and if there are any big shifts in the asking price. Partnering with Lezamiz Real Estate Company can help you understand these key data points.
3. Go through the pre-approval process
You might be able to guess what your house budget is based on your finances and credit score, but speaking with a lender will help you determine a specific number. In order to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will have to provide your lender with some financial information, including your debts and assets.
4. List your priorities
Once you know how much house you can actually afford, you can actually begin your search for a home among listings in your area of choice. Although you probably won’t be able to find a listing that fulfills every item on your wishlist, like that indoor pool…
…It’s a good idea to keep your priorities top of mind to ensure you know what to look for when buying a house. So write them down, and make sure to revisit them as you
begin looking at homes.
5. Work with a Lezamiz Agent
With your list of priorities and your pre-approval information in hand, speak to us here at Lezamiz and we can help you find a home. An agent can facilitate negotiations between buyers and sellers and show you properties that fit your budget and meet your needs.
6. Make an offer and negotiate
With the help of your Leazamiz real estate agent, you will determine a fair price to offer the owners of a home in which you are interested. Try to avoid making a low-ball offer. Often, owners who receive an offer that is obviously too low simply refuse it upfront and don’t engage in any further negotiations. You should always defer to the opinion of your agent, as he or she will know a lot more about the housing market and the rules that apply to home offers.
7. Handle inspections and secure a loan
Home inspections are a necessary part of the homebuying process. Don’t skip this. It’s important to have the house you are purchasing professionally inspected to ensure you are aware of any damage or signs of structural wear. An inspection will confirm whether the homeowners were honest in their listing and reveal any issues that might have gone unnoticed. After the inspection and the appraisal of the property, you can secure your loan with a bank or lender.
8. Submit paperwork and close
You will work with your lender and your Lezamiz real estate agent to ensure that all of the relevant paperwork for your purchase is in order. You will be able to move into your new home as soon as all of the paperwork has been completed and the seller of the house has been paid.
What Do I Look For Before Buying a Home?
1. Roof condition
A traditional shingle roof will have to be replaced every 20 to 25 years—and a full professional replacement may cost $8,000 or more. This is a significant expense, and not one you want to be stuck with right after purchasing your new home. Pay attention to the condition of the roof when you tour a home, and be sure to ask about its age.
2. Signs of foundational damage
Some small problems, like faded paint or a broken light fixture, can usually be remedied without too much effort and money, but if the foundation of a home is damaged, you are looking at thousands of dollars in repairs. Look for signs of cracking near the foundation inside and outside the home and pay attention to the grade of the floors for signs of unevenness, which may indicate a sinking of the foundation.
3. Potential for flooding
You might fall in love with a home you tour because of how close it is to a body of water, but make sure you consider the potential risks of this proximity. The closer you are to water, the more likely it is that you will experience problems with flooding—especially during stormy times of the year. It is also important you have insurance coverage for such a possibility, so be sure to do your research.
4. Mold, weathering and water damage
Take a peek inside the cabinetry for signs of mold growth around pipes. Mold growth may indicate a leaky plumbing system, previous flooding or improper ventilation. You should also look for other signs of water damage and excessive weathering, such as musty odors or peeling paint.
5. Insulation and energy efficiency
Make sure you are aware of the condition of the insulation in a home, especially if it was built several decades ago. The better the insulation of a house is, the less you will have to spend on utility costs when it comes to heating and cooling throughout the year.
What Do I Need to Buy for My New Home?
Keys & Locks- The first thing you should do is re-key or change your door locks. If the previous sellers were like most people, the neighbors, friends and coworkers all might have a set of keys to your house. Even new home builders give out keys to contractors. It's smart to change the locks and / or install deadbolts.
Lawnmower- Unless you plan to hire a gardener or your yard is filled with rocks or drought resistant vegetation, you will need to buy a lawnmower.
Garden Supplies- Every home needs a garden hose. You can buy those at a low price, plus find adjustable sprayer heads or lawn sprinklers. Don't forget about weed-whackers, trowels, shovels, rakes or hoes. A push broom comes in handy for sweeping your garage floor, plus the handle unscrews so you can use it as an extension pole with a wall sander. Consider a watering can, and wheelbarrow or wagon.
Tools & Repair- Items to buy for a new house Every home needs a well-stocked tool box. Besides buying a toolbox itself, other essential items are:
Hammers: Ball and Claw
Assorted Screw drivers: Flathead and Phillips
Small Power Drill and Drill Bits
More Stuff to Buy for a New House
Paint Brushes: one-inch to four-inches
Paint Scraper with steel brush for cleaning paint brushes
Five-Gallon Container for mixing paint
Paint Roller and Sleeves
Drop Cloths or plastic sheeting
Assorted Screws and Nails
Assortment of Sandpaper
Outdoor Entertaining- Lawn chairs, patio furniture and umbrella, and a barbecue grill are among the starter items most people put out back. A nice starter grill is a Weber charcoal grill, and it's very inexpensive.
Snow Removal- Many cities give homeowners a certain period of time to remove the snow and you can be cited if you don't. Apart from clearing the driveway so you can get your car out of the garage, remember the sidewalks and front steps.
Appliances- Many new homes are equipped with new appliances, but when buying an older home, depending on where you live, it might be customary for the seller to take some of the appliances. Not all appliances are fixtures, either.
At the very least, you will need a:
Cooktop / Range
Washer & Dryer
If new is out of your price range, then consider buying used appliances, which will save you roughly 75% or more of the cost new.
Linens, Towels and Floor Coverings- Now that you can paint your rooms any color you choose, you might also find a need to buy new towels for the bathroom. Newly painted walls call attention to older, worn items, and your towels might be better suited for washing the car or your dog than hanging in a fresh, new bathroom. Consider also floor mats for the bath or area rugs for your larger rooms.
Is Their a Way to See How Much My Monthly Payment Will Be?
You can get an idea of what the monthly cost of buying a particluar home by inputting information on our Mortgage Calculator by clicking here. If you need assistance in finding the right bank to help you finance then please give us a call.