FIND A REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL WHO’S SIMPATICO.
Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the practitioner you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.
REMEMBER, THERE’S NO “RIGHT” TIME TO BUY, ANY MORE THAN THERE’S A RIGHT TIME TO SELL.
If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don’t usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.
Investigate local, state, and national down payment assistance programs. These programs give loans or grants to cover all or part of your required down payment. The Nehemiah Community Foundation has compiled one of the most comprehensive Down Payment Assistance Program databases in the country to help reduce your barriers to homeownership. There are also national programs including the American Dream Downpayment Initiative from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, property taxes you pay, and some of the costs involved in buying your home.
Between 1998 and 2002, national home prices increased at an average of 5.4 percent annually. And while there’s no guarantee of appreciation, a 2001 study by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® found that a typical homeowner has approximately $50,000 of unrealized gain in a home.
DECIDE HOW MUCH HOME YOU CAN AFFORD.
Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.
DEVELOP A WISH LIST.
What would you like your home to have? Then, prioritize the features on your list.
— Reprinted with permission from Real Estate Checklists and Systems