Are you a first-time home buyer? Are you feeling confused about the myriad complicated steps in the home buying process? Don’t worry, this section can help walk you through it. Below you will find introductory information on buying a home, including answers to frequently asked questions; a glossary of common terms; insightful tips on co-buying a house; and how to buy second homes. This section will also help you understand what an attorney can do for you when buying a home, as well as important questions to ask the professionals you encounter, such as attorneys, real estate agents, mortgage agents, and home inspectors.
Are You Ready to Buy a Home?
A home is the biggest purchase most people will ever make in their lifetimes, often matched by a lengthy loan commitment of up to 30 years. The type of loan you get, distinguished mainly by its interest rate, will depend primarily on your credit score and the amount of cash you have on hand for a down payment. Your ability to purchase a home will largely depend on the following:
In addition to the initial costs and monthly mortgage payments, home ownership also has substantial long term costs, such as maintenance, upkeep, insurance, property taxes, and other associated costs. Make sure you budget enough for both predictable maintenance costs and unexpected emergencies.
Buying Your First House: Getting Started
When you buy your first home, it's most likely the biggest and most life-changing financial transaction you will have ever made. The process itself has many important steps that must be followed in sequence, with deadlines for certain processes and the constant chance that things could fall through at the last minute. But, as with most things in life, proper preparation can alleviate many of these concerns. Once you have determined your financial where withal for buying a home, ideally with a price range in mind, you can turn your attention to the available properties on the market.
Once you have found homes that you like that are within your price range, you'll need to get the answers to the following questions:
Making an Offer: The Contract
When you're ready to buy and have chosen a home, it's time to make the first of what could turn out to be many offers and counter-offers. If the seller accepts your initial offer without conditions or alterations, then it becomes a legally binding contract and the wheels are set in motion for the sale and transfer of deed. However, most real offers have "safety net" clauses that provide wide leeway for prospective buyers who change their mind or choose a different home.
If you are also selling a home, then you probably already are working with a real estate agent. But if not, and especially if this is your first home, you may want to get in touch with a real estate agent and/or attorney to make sure you fully understand the terms.
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