Tips for Buying Your First Home

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might find the process overwhelming. Applying for a mortgage is daunting, and the sheer amount of paperwork associated with a home purchase is almost a second job in and of itself. Luckily, home buying doesn’t have to be too difficult—especially when you follow these tips for buying your first home in Alpine, TX.

Here’s how to go into your first home buying process armed with the right information.

Set a budget

Before you can buy a home, you need to know just how much home you can afford. It’s better to set a budget before you even start looking at the listings. You should also consider whether it’s smart to buy right now. Generally, if you plan to live in a home for more than five years, it makes sense to buy—but if you don’t think you’ll stay in the home or the area very long, there’s nothing wrong with renting.

Most importantly, you shouldn’t count on your home to appreciate in value. There’s no guarantee that you will be able to sell your house for a profit, so choose one you like simply because it’s a good house.

Generally, your mortgage payment should be 30 percent or less of your monthly income. If you spend more than that, you risk not being able to cover your other monthly expenses.

Work on your finances before applying for a mortgage

Next, you’ll need to whip your finances into shape. There’s no time like the present to start monitoring your credit report and improving your score. You’ll also need to save some money for the down payment (3.5 to 20 percent of the purchase price) and closing. Finally, get your financial documents together: W-2s, pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements.

Go mortgage-shopping

Now it’s time to apply for a mortgage—and don’t forget to shop around. You want to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house-hunting. Otherwise, you risk losing out on your dream home before you can put in an offer.

When you’re evaluating mortgages, it’s important that you realize the difference between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Look at the mortgage term and find out what other terms you may be dealing with. Finally, ask about the fees—they may be hidden in the mortgage payments or tacked on at closing. Either way, they can be a nasty and expensive surprise if you’re not prepared.

Don’t forget the homeowners insurance

Finally, don’t forget to purchase homeowners insurance. You’ll need to get adequate insurance to protect your future property—but the rates can vary depending on location, home size and style and even the age and condition roof. This is often a significant expense that first-time buyers forget to factor into their monthly expenses.

As you can see, home buying is not a fast or easy process—but it’s a lot easier when you follow these tips for buying your first home in Alpine, TX. To find the perfect house for you, call Carpenter Real Estate today.