Frequently Asked Questions about Buying a Home
There are few times in an individual or family’s life as exciting as buying and moving in to a new home. While the process may seem a bit hectic at times – and there is quite a bit of paperwork to complete – before you know it you’ll be deciding where to put your furniture and listening to the kids argue over the bedrooms. In today’s article we’ll address some of the most commonly asked questions about the home buying process, including how to determine how much you can afford and how to make an offer to a home seller.
What is the First Step to Buying a Home?
The first step that you’ll need to take down the path toward home ownership is determining whether or not you can afford to buy a home. Purchasing real estate is a major financial transaction and if you’re like the majority of homebuyers you’ll be looking to a bank or other lender to supply you with mortgage financing. Take some time to analyze your income, your credit score, your debts and your regular spending to determine how much you can reasonably afford to put towards your mortgage each month.
About two-thirds of households in our country are homeowners, so there’s a high probability you can afford a home. If you are unsure, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
What Should I Look for in a Home?
As you’re most likely buying a home that you will live in for a decade or more, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about the future and how it looks. Do you have children, or are you planning to have them? If so you’ll want to assess local elementary, middle and high schools to ensure you have quality education nearby. If you don’t plan on having kids, where do you plan on working? If you can get a home that is closer to your workplace you’ll increase your quality of life by avoiding a lengthy commute.
You’ll also want to consider the home itself. How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need? Are you interested in a large, expansive kitchen? What about your living and dining rooms? Do you want a home with central heat and central air conditioning? It might be worth spending some time browsing through our property listings in order to see what’s on the market in your preferred communities. Rest assured that if you have something specific that you need in your home, we’ll help make sure that you get it.
How Much Can I Afford?
The amount you can afford to spend on a property is tied to how much you can invest in a down payment and the size of the mortgage that you have been approved for. Most lenders will require a down payment of around 20 percent, so if you’re after a house that costs $400,000 you would need to be able to part with $80,000 for the down payment alone. Check with your lender to determine what the upper limit of your mortgage should be based on your income, your debts and your other expenses.
How Much Should I Offer when I’ve Decided to Buy a House?
How much you offer will depend on the current state of the real estate market, the local inventory of similar properties, how long the house has been on the market and how likely the seller is to accept an offer that is lower than their listing price. Trust in your real estate agent’s advice as they have been through this process many times before and have access to behind-the-scenes data.
What Do I Do if the Seller Makes a Counteroffer?
If you receive a counteroffer you’ll need to ask yourself how much you really want the home. Check with your real estate agent to determine if the counteroffer is fair or if you think the seller could do a bit better. Remember, if you’re pre-approved for a mortgage you’ll need to stay within that range. If necessary, you can respond with another counteroffer of your own but be prepared to sacrifice on some of the terms if you’re asking the seller to as well.
These are just a few of the situations you may encounter in the home buying process. If you have other questions about the specifics of buying a piece of Northern Virginia real estate or if you’re ready to get the process started, contact the experienced professionals here at the E4Realty Group. We’ll be happy to consult with you to determine your needs, source a list of properties that meet them and get viewings scheduled at times that work for you.