Home buying tips: How to buy a house – Connecticut

Home buying tips: How to buy a house First time home buyers have a million questions, and luckily, Author and Fox Financial Correspondent, Gerri Willis, has a million answers. Here’s what you need to know before you buy a home.

Here’s some good news for homebuyers: this bad market is actually a great market for homebuyers. If you have been waiting on the sidelines because you couldn’t afford a house, now is the time to get into the game. With housing prices going down, it’s a good time to get your money together, get in the marketplace and start asking questions.

What can I afford?

  • You only want to spend one third of your gross income—that’s income before taxes—on your home. Here’s why: there are lots of other costs beside your mortgage that you have to think about—insurance, maintenance, and taxes.
  • It’s important to really take a hard look at all your numbers to make sure you have a handle on what you can truly afford.

How much should I put down?

  • You should try to put 20% down, but no more. This shows lenders that you are a serious buyer and they will be more likely to give you good terms (provided you have a good credit score).
  • Most people find that once they buy their house there are a lot of other costs involved that many don’t expect. For example, you may have to repair something—your roof, your furnace, etc.
  • It’s better to have enough money on hand to deal with unforeseen expenses that arise.

How do I find a home in my price range?

  • Most people, especially women, search on the web first to find a home—it’s a great place to start to see what you can afford.
  • All the major broker houses will have web sites and you’ll easily be able to sort through houses to see what that appeals to you in your price range.

How important is location?

  • It’s best to look for a house that is close to basic services in the area—malls, dry cleaners, grocery stores—you want these things really close to your house so that it is an easy place to live.
  • Some people buy a home where there are no services and it can be really unpleasant to have to drive a distance just to go grocery shopping.
  • Buying a house in a location that is near services also helps with resale, because people buying your house will want to be close to services as well.

Should I buy in an emerging neighborhood?

  • In this market it’s really not necessary to buy in an emerging neighborhood. There are some great houses in very good neighborhoods for sale right now.
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