1. Check the selling prices of comparable homes in your desired area. Web sites such as Zillow can give you a general idea of what you should expect to pay. You can also do a quick search of actual MLS listings in your area on a number of Web sites, including the site of the National Association of Realtors or by having one of our Teammates customize your profile in our database so you can start receiving automatic updates on new inventory, open houses, price changes with homes in your area, etc.
Better yet, this is one of the services all of our agents offer their clients as their buyer’s agent. Our team will make sure you won’t overpay!
2. See what you can afford. Use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to see what your payment would be. Of course, you’ll only be able to get approximate numbers until you know the actual specifics of your transaction.
3. Find out what your total monthly housing costs would be, including taxes and homeowners insurance. To get a feel for the maximum amount you should spend, including taxes and insurance, use MSN Real Estate’s home affordability calculator.
In some areas, what you’ll pay for your taxes and insurance escrows can almost double your mortgage payment. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average yearly premium can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousands. (The actual number will depend on whether you’re purchasing a condo, single family, or multifamily home.)
Either way, have no fears: Team D&V can help you secure great homeowners insurance at an affordable cost! To get an idea of what you’ll pay in insurance, pick a property in the area where you want to live and make a call to a local insurance agent for an estimate. You won’t be obligated to get the insurance, but you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll pay if fast possible!
4. Find out how much you’ll likely pay in closing costs. The up-front cost of settling on your home shouldn’t be overlooked. Closing costs include origination fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowners insurance or home-owners association fees. You can see what closing costs average in your state by looking at Bankrate.com’s annual closing cost survey.
Your lender should also be able to give you an accurate closing cost schedule… We can make some excellent recommendations for lenders as well. (Having an extensive network is both efficient and effective for clients – “who you know” in the Real Estate world absolutely matters!)
5. Look at your budget and determine how a house fits into it. Fannie Mae recommends that buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing costs. Go much past 30% and you risk becoming house poor. If you’re a little “unsure” about how all these numbers compute, don’t worry – this is yet again one of the things any of our agents can help you with.
6. Talk to reputable real-estate agents in your area about the real-estate climate. Ask them if they believe prices will continue leveling off or do they think the Boston/Metro-West area has hit bottom or will rise soon? What trends are impacting the community that you should know about? In 5, 10, 20 years+ what should you be thinking about when pertaining to resale value?
7. Remember to look at the big picture. While buying a house is a great way to build wealth, nurturing your investment can be labor-intensive and expensive. When unexpected costs for new appliances, roof repairs and plumbing problems arise, there’s no landlord to turn to, and these costs can drain your bank account quickly.
As you can imagine, there is an onslaught of things to keep in mind as you begin the buying process. To help you strategize, goal-get, and maximize your return-on-investment as either a buyer or seller, we will be putting several blog posts so you will be the most informed buyer out there.
To the futures of your home-buying success,
Owner/Agent, Team D&V Real Estate
(617) 923-6555 | Email Me Directly