Thinking About Opening the Door to a New Home?

Here are some steps to take first.

07/19/2016

Thinking About Opening the Door to a New Home?

So you’ve made the decision to buy a home – congratulations! This can be one of the most important and exciting decisions you’ll ever make. But the decision to buy a home is just one in a series of choices you’ll have to make throughout the process of getting the home you want. So where should you begin?
 

Get pre-approved.

The first decision you’ll have to make is how much you can afford. An easy way to do that is to get a free mortgage pre-approval for a loan. When you are pre-approved, you’ll learn how much you can qualify to borrow for a home. That way, you won’t be looking at houses that are outside your price range. To become pre-approved, we will look at your income and your credit history and give you a pre-approval certificate that will tell you and prospective sellers how much you are able to borrow. A pre-approval offers another great benefit – it shows sellers that you are a serious and qualified buyer, giving you a powerful negotiating advantage.
 

Choose a real estate professional.

Before you begin looking at homes, you’ll need to work with a real estate professional. You can begin by asking for referrals from friends or family members. Your real estate professional should be familiar with the area you’re considering. He or she can help you make other important decisions, including the style of house, number of rooms, etc., and can supply information about the neighborhoods you are considering, such as school districts and local property taxes.
 

Coming up with the down payment.

Most mortgages require you to come up with a down payment. Consider your savings and determine how much you will be able to put toward the down payment. Here are some suggestions for managing the down payment: 
  • Ask your North Shore Bank mortgage expert about FHA, VA, and other mortgages that offer down payments options
  • Obtain gift funds from a family member
  • Start an automatic savings plan – arrange to have funds automatically transferred to a savings account each month 
 

Understand the types of loans available to you.

You’ll need to consider the type of mortgage you want. Talk with your North Shore Bank mortgage professional who can to help you decide on the mortgage that best meets your goals and budget. The types of mortgages include: 
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). In general, if you plan to live in your home for only a few years or expect your income to rise, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is ideal. ARMs offer lower fixed interest rates initially, which then may go up or down during the adjustment period, depending on rate conditions.
  • Fixed-rate mortgages. If you plan to stay in your home for several years and prefer the predictability of fixed principal and interest payments, a fixed-rate mortgage is a smart choice.
  • First-time home buyer programs. If you’ve never owned a home, you may be able to qualify for a first-time home buyer program. These programs generally offer lower down payment requirements and reduced closing costs.
  • Other types of alternative mortgages. Depending on your income, you also may be able to qualify for these more affordable mortgages, which offer flexible underwriting requirements and reduced down payments and closing costs.
  • Construction loans. If you plan to build a new home, construction loans allow you to combine the construction and permanent financing in one mortgage. 
 

Saving for emergency expenses

Owning a home is a big financial responsibility, which is why you’ll want to have cash reserves to protect you from unexpected repair or maintenance expenses. It’s a good idea to set up a savings account to set aside funds. The better prepared you are, the better you’ll sleep at night in your new home.

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