Expert Advice Part 8: First-Time Home Purchases

Your home is the largest purchase you’re likely to ever make in your life. It’s understandable, then, that you might get a bit nervous about it, especially when you’re a first-time buyer. There’s a lot of information and paperwork to keep track of, not to mention the sticker shock you’re going to feel after signing and initializing all of the paperwork at your closing.

If you’re a first-time home buyer looking through real estate for sale in Alpine, TX, here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help you stay sane and confident in your purchase.

Seriously think about what you can really afford

There are far too many people who get wrapped up in finding their “dream house” that they don’t spend nearly enough time considering how much they can actually afford to spend on their home.

First, is it even the right time for you to be shopping for a home? Will you be living there for at least five years? Will your total housing payment for the home you’re looking at be less than 30 percent of your gross monthly income? You don’t want it to be difficult to cover other monthly expenses because you’re shelling out the bulk of your income to pay for a mortgage on a house you can’t comfortably afford.

Get your finances in order

Once you’ve determined you can afford a particular house, it’s important to make sure you’re financially qualified. Check your credit score first—you need to have a good credit rating to not only get approved by lenders, but also to get a good interest rate. If you need to boost your credit score, pay off your credit card balances and continue making timely monthly payments, and it will take care of itself over time.

Make sure you’re also saving up for a reasonable-sized down payment. You don’t necessarily have to put the commonly recommended 20 percent down, but just be prepared to pay for private mortgage insurance if you do put down less than that.

Finally, make sure you’ve got all your documents ready to provide to a lender as soon as possible so you can get pre-approved quickly for a mortgage. These documents include W-2s, pay stubs, bank statements and copies of your most recent several years of tax returns.

Find a lender

Shop around to several different banks and lenders to find one that will give you the best interest rate. It’s free to get pre-approved for a mortgage, and doing so shows you are a serious buyer who can be trusted. Consider whether you want a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage (most buyers should take out fixed-rate mortgages). Consider other mortgage fees that you might need to take into consideration, as well as PMI.

Don’t just accept whatever interest rate is provided to you in your first conversation with a loan officer. Spend a bit of time shopping around to see what you can get. The good news is that interest rates are still quite low at the moment, so you should be able to find a rate that is beneficial for you.

For more information that can benefit you as a first-time home buyer when looking at real estate for sale in Alpine, TX, contact Carpenter Real Estate today.

Expert Advice Part 4: Consider the Cost of Rural Living

When looking for a home in the country, many people envision the peace and quiet of rural living. There are many pros to living in the country away from the hustle and bustle of city life, traffic noise and other distractions. However, before choosing a rural property for sale in Alpine, TX, make sure you’re aware of the hidden costs of rural living.

  • Fuel costs: When choosing a rural property for sale in Alpine, TX, make sure you think about the commuting costs. This can be felt in terms of time and money. Increased fuel costs in rural areas and the time it takes to commute back and forth can be expensive.
  • Food costs: Food costs may also be higher in rural areas, since the supply of food is lower than in urban areas. You’ll want to plan trips into urban areas for groceries, since it will be more economical than buying large quantities of groceries in rural areas.
  • Rental availability and cost: If you’re looking at renting, consider the increased costs of rental properties, as well as the availability. The supply is low, so costs may be high and hard to find.
  • Remodeling contractor costs: If you’re thinking about doing any remodeling, consider that costs will be higher for the contractors, as they will have to travel farther for their supplies.
  • Builder costs: The same can be said for the initial builders of your property. Builders in rural areas are harder to find because the project may be much farther away than their typical service area. They may even charge a surcharge for their travel costs. Staying present while the building is in process can help make sure things are meeting your expectations.

Mitigating Costs

If you’re set on buying rural land for sale in Alpine, TX and building your idyllic country home, there are many things you can do to help mitigate the costs.

The best thing you can do is be selective about the professionals you work with and choose contractors who specialize in rural properties and who will efficiently handle costs in the best way possible. Make sure you also know exactly what’s included in the sale, including zoning, fencing, bridges, benches and anything else present on the property.

Hiring an agent, especially one that specializes in rural property, can be instrumental in helping you keep costs down and understand what you’re getting into. The agent will be working in your best interest and will be well-versed in the complex and unique road bumps that come with rural land for sale.

If you’re ready to find rural land for sale in Alpine, TX, contact the professionals at Carpenter Real Estate. Since 1947, we’ve sold over one million acres in Alpine and the surrounding areas, and are well equipped to handle the specificities of rural land and properties. We can help you work with trusted professionals and contractors to get the best value for your money. Our vast knowledge and experience make Carpenter Real Estate the first place to go to for any and all real estate needs.

Should I List My Home Above Market Value

Is It a Good Idea to List My House for Over the Fair Market Value?

Everyone wants to get the best price for their home when they put it up for sale on the market. With this mindset, it may seem like a smart idea to jack up the listing price well above fair market value. For example, if your home is valued at $250,000, you might be tempted to put it out there for $275,000 just to see if anyone will bite at that price.

Unfortunately, trying to bump a property for sale in Alpine well over its fair market value almost always ends in failure, for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons overpriced homes end up being a debacle and why straying too far above market value will end up costing you in the end.

Missing Your Audience

Just because you list your home at $275,000 doesn’t mean someone will pay that price. In fact, you might end up appealing to an audience that’s not quite interested in your home. Worse still, trying to push your home into a higher demographic can dramatically shift its perception. Instead of being a high-end home in a lower price range, you might end up coming off as a low-end home in a high price range. Perception is everything when it comes to attracting the right audience.

Starting a Bidding War

In most cases, a bidding war is great for homeowners—it means there are multiple sellers who are willing to pay a premium for your home! In the case of an overpriced home, however, the bidding war might be between you and a single prospective buyer. In this case, the buyer will likely have leverage. If they know a home is overpriced, they’ll undercut your asking price as much as they can and, if you do eventually come to an agreement, it’s likely going to be for less than market value.

Stepping the Price Lower

When homes are listed far above their market price, they can tend to be stagnant listings. People avoid them because they know they’re overpriced. So, in order to attract new viewings, many homeowners will start to step down the price incrementally, little by little. Over time, this gives the property a negative perception. People start asking “What’s wrong with it?” or “Why does the price keep falling?” It gives off the vibe that a house is defective or that the owner is having trouble selling it.

Creating False Hype

If a home is appraised at one value and listed well above that value, it can create hype. Buyers think there must be something truly amazing about it to warrant such a jump! When they check it out and find nothing overly exceptional, the hype is immediately derailed. This is one of the fastest ways to kill interest in your home.

The moral of the story is that while it might seem like a good idea to overprice your Alpine property and see who bites, the better option is instead to price it fairly. You’ll generate more interest and come across as more reasonable, resulting in more interested offers and, potentially, a sale that’s as good or better than you’re asking. Have more questions? Contact Carpenter Real Estate today!


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