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Those housing trends are continuing, causing 2023 to be something of a transitional year. Sellers still have an edge in many areas, thanks to continued scarcity of houses, and no one expects a dramatic crash in home prices or values. Still, the frenzied pace has definitely subsided, and many analysts see a shift towards a more balanced market, benefitting buyers.
Your home inspection report may reveal major or minor issues. Major problems will likely need to be dealt with before your mortgage lender will finalize your loan, while minor issues can often wait till you take possession of the home.
A final walk-through is an opportunity to view the property before it becomes yours. This is your last chance to view the home, ask questions and address any outstanding issues before the house becomes your responsibility.
Mortgage lending discrimination is illegal. If you think you've been discriminated against based on race, religion, sex, marital status, use of public assistance, national origin, disability, or age, there are steps you can take. One such step is to file a report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
A common rule of thumb used by lenders in determining mortgage affordability is for the estimated mortgage payment to be no more than 28% of a borrower's monthly gross income. Mortgage lenders take into account things like annual income, total monthly debts, down payment, debt-to-income ratio along with loan factors like the interest rate, term, estimated taxes, and insurance when calculating how much they will lend to a given borrower.
Buying a house can take as little as a few days if you're buying in cash, or can take years if you're counting the amount of time it takes you to save money for a down payment and decide where to live. In a competitive housing market, you may put in multiple offers on homes before one is accepted. Conversely, mounting worry over a housing recession could lead more sellers to pull their homes from the market, making it more difficult to find a suitable property. If you already have your money saved and have a good idea of the neighborhoods and type of home you want, the process will probably take you two to six months. Ask a local real estate agent for a more accurate timeline based on your local market conditions.
Debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is another financial instrument mortgage lenders use to evaluate your loan application. Your DTI helps your lender see how much of your monthly income goes to debt so they can evaluate the amount of mortgage debt you can take on.
Your loan type might require a specialized inspection as well. For example, you often have to get a pest inspection before you take out a VA loan. Most lenders will schedule this inspection on your behalf and pass the cost along to you at closing.
There are multiple parties involved when getting a mortgage and buying a house. Your real estate agent is your representative in the home purchase transaction. Your agent will look out for your best interests by finding homes that meet your criteria, get you showings, help you write offers and negotiate.
A real estate agent represents you and helps you understand how to buy a house. Your agent will show you properties, write an offer letter on your behalf and assist in negotiations. Real estate agents are local market experts and can also advise you on how much to offer for each property.
Only you can decide which property is right for you. Make sure you see plenty of homes before you decide which one you want to make an offer on. Like much of the home buying process, you can do a great deal of your house hunting online.
If you want to buy a house, you need to meet basic requirements for credit score, income, and employment history as well saving for a down payment. Exact guidelines will vary depending on the type of home loan you use.
With a conventional loan, you can expect to pay a minimum down payment between 3% and 5% of the purchase price. The minimum on an FHA loan, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, is 3.5%. USDA and VA home loans do not have minimum down payment requirements. (That means you can buy a house with $0 down if you qualify.)
Your existing debts will help determine how much money you can borrow to buy a house. High monthly debts (such as credit card debt, student loans, and other installment loans) could prevent mortgage approval. Low monthly debts, on the other hand, can help you afford a more expensive home.
Looking at the general requirements to buy a house can help you determine if you might qualify based on your finances. You can also use a mortgage affordability calculator to ballpark your home price range. But a mortgage lender still gets the final say.
The final step to buying a house is, of course, closing on your new home. When that time comes, make sure you review your Closing Disclosure, which will outline the terms, final closing costs and any outstanding charges or fees included in your loan. Your lender will send the disclosure to you at least 3 business days before closing.
During closing, the property title will pass from the seller to you. A closing agent will oversee this process, which typically takes place at a title company, management firm, escrow office or your home.
Step one, as noted at the top of our list, is to check your credit score. Before you get into finding a lender, real estate agent or even looking at homes, you should take a look at where your creditworthiness stands. Good and excellent credit can qualify you for the best loans and interest rates.
No matter when you plan to buy, there are a few things you should know. On average, the process of buying a house takes roughly six months. In 2021, the typical buyer reported searching for between 2 and less than 3 months. Then add to that 30-45 days to close.But the process of buying a house includes more than just touring homes. You also need to review your credit and financing options, find the right real estate agent, make offers and negotiate, get an inspection, prepare to move and, eventually, close on your new home.
Searching available homes online is a great way to start your house-hunting process. According to the Zillow Group Report, 95% of buyers use online resources in their home search. Start on Zillow and search for homes in your target area, then filter by price and your must-haves. Additionally, your agent can send you listings and schedule showings.
To determine how much you can spend on a home, take a close look at your budget. Review your bank statements and spending habits for the last couple of months to figure out how much you are spending on everything from cellphone bills to streaming services to your weekly restaurant takeout. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a spending tracker that can help you figure out where your money is going each month.
Understand that making an offer on a home is sometimes the start of a psychological game. You likely want to get the home for as little as you can without losing the house outright. The seller wants to maximize the selling price of the home without scaring you away. Where should you start with your first offer Conventional wisdom says to begin at 5 percent below the asking price, but market conditions will largely determine how much wiggle room you have. The more competitive the market, the more likely you are to face multiple bidders. In a soft market, where listings have been sitting unsold, you will have more negotiating power. In a rising market, prime listings will command the full asking price or more, and sometimes offering just a few thousand dollars above listing price can help your offer stand out. Either way, keep your budget in mind when you make your first offer and set a cap of how high you are truly willing to go.
Once your bid on a house is accepted, you set in motion the process that will take you to finally holding a set of keys in your hand. While you may be eager to move into your new place, it is in your best interest to do your due diligence to make sure you get a home that it is in good condition and at a good rate. 59ce067264