With today’s unstable market, the home buying process has become pretty nerve wracking for future buyers.  With the increased foreclosures and tightened restrictions on mortgages, it can be a very difficult time to buy a new home.  Lenders are getting more picky about who they will qualify, making it much harder for families in the housing market.

©Ambro - freedigitalphotos

©Ambro – freedigitalphotos

On the good side, if you have a strong credit rating and already qualify for a mortgage, it can be a great time to purchase a home.  With lower home prices and a pre approved mortgage, the market can present more of an opportunity to established homeowners than for a first time buyer.  There are some tips, however, to help you stay within a safe area for your future home purchase despite the unstable market.

1.    Don’t get in over your head with a large mortgage.  Everything looks great on paper until you get the first bill and they keep on coming for the next 30 years.  You need to figure out how much you can actually afford each month and for how long.  There are some important questions you should ask yourself before buying.  Can you afford this monthly home expense while saving for retirement, college, kids, or even a new car?  What are the other bills (utilities, taxes) that will come along with this new house?  Knowing answers to these questions will help you decide on what you need your monthly mortgage expense to be.

2.    Real estate agents can affect home buying.  You need to keep in mind that all real estate agents are not the same.  Ask questions to a real estate agent that you are thinking of working with.  This way you will find one that is best suited for your needs and personality.  Some questions to ask; Do they have experience with title searches or can they help you spot potential problems with the property?  Having a good real estate agent is priceless and will save you a lot of headache.

3.    Doing online research about the area you’re potentially looking to buy in, is very important.  Find out crime statistics, school districts, home prices and comparables.  You can find all kinds of information buy joining online forums and asking for advice from people who live in the same area.  A good site to look at is www.city-data.com, you will find an array of useful real estate information.

4.    Explore and get to know the area personally.  If your looking to buy a home, than you will most likely be planning on spending a good amount of time there, so walk around your future neighborhood and try to meet a few of your neighbors.  Another good idea is to attend local open houses or contact for sale by owner homes.  By doing this you can find out what others think of the neighborhood and why they are moving.  Drive through the streets as well, try to notice the area; are there a lot of kids, working parents, or older couples? Answers to all these questions will give you a better idea of what your future neighborhood will be like.

These are just the top tips for buying a home, look for more help in an upcoming article.  There is no reason to be scared of the unstable market, just make sure to do your research.  Keep your future in mind and know that it is your happiness that matters most.

Part 2

Earlier we looked at some tips to help ease the stresses and worries for future home buyers.  Some of the previous advice given: information on not getting over your head with a large mortgage.  How real estate agents can affect home buying. Do online research and get to know your future neighborhood better. These are important bits of information please review part 1.

Today we are going to continue on with some advice when looking for a home in today’s unstable market.  The First few tips are for someone who has established credit, while the final suggestions will be for someone who’s credit may not be as strong.

1.    Negotiate with the home seller for the property you are interested in.  You never know what the seller’s situation might be and it won’t hurt asking for a lower price.  Be ready to walk away from the house though, if they won’t meet your request.  If you don’t want to loose the house, you may want to be careful how demanding your requests are.  If the seller is under a lot of pressure to sell, they might be open to your demands.

2.    Foreclosed properties can be good or bad.  Upfront they may seem like a great deal, being less expensive than similar houses not in foreclosure.  However, if the homeowner has been unable to make their mortgage payments, it is not very likely that they have kept up with general maintenance of the home itself.  You could end up getting stuck with a property that has larger issues than you are willing to deal with.

3.    Getting a good mortgage and knowing which lender is right for you can be one of the biggest challenges of home ownership.  There are many unethical lenders out there offering great deals, but remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If you are caught with an unsavory lender and something bad happens in the future, the status of your home and ability to secure a second mortgage could come into question.  You don’t want to loose everything due to a bad mortgage company.

4.    Get a home inspection.  You need a third party, unbiased view of the property, before you buy.  You want to know all of your property’s potential problems up front, so pay for an excellent home inspector.  Do research before hand and ask friends if they know a quality inspector.  If they find a problem that seems more of a headache than what it’s worth, you have the opportunity to back out before purchasing. (assuming your offer was contingent on a property inspection)

5.    If you have bad credit, consider buying a house through a lease purchase or rent to own.  It is a great time to purchase a house at a fixed price.  Renting the house until you can afford to get your mortgage will give you time to raise your credit score, which will lower your monthly payments by getting a better interest rate.

Finally, just keep in mind your long term plans before buying a home.  A home purchase is a huge investment, so look for a home that will suit you now, as well as several years down the road.  You can invest in your home and make any necessary upgrades to help you grow with the property and these improvements will help to increase your investment and make you more financially secure in the future.

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