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Home Buying 101

Are you looking to buy a home? If so, check-out these helpful tips from our experts. 

Understanding what you can afford, will make purchasing your home enjoyable. Consider requesting a pre-approval from a bank you know and trust. Not only will this help you set your budget, it will also help your agent/broker find properties within your budget. 

 

When looking to buy a home, it is important to narrow down your property search to a few select towns. 

The process of buying a house is complex, and most people find it's easiest to get through with an agent by their side. It can be helpful to have someone trained in going through the paperwork. Agents have this process down and also can be a great resource to direct you to proper inspectors, mortgage loan brokers, and others who can help to make the homebuying process faster and more efficient. They know what's considered appropriate behavior and practice in your geographical area.

How do I check my credit score?
You can check your credit score using several online sites such as Credit Karma, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. Or, you can access your free credit report from freecreditreport.com.*

How much debt can home buyers have?
Your debt-to-income ratio, plays a large role in whether you’re ready and able to qualify for a mortgage. It’s the percentage of your income that goes toward paying your monthly debts, and it helps lenders decide how much you can borrow.

*These are examples only. MFS does not endorse or partner with any of the above mentioned sites or services. 

Start to gather your bank statements and tax returns – it makes the process easier if you have your documents in advance. Other documents you might need are: Tax returns, Pay stubs, W-2s or other proof of income, Bank statements and other assets, Credit history, Gift letters, Photo ID, Renting history etc. 

Is a home inspection required?
When buying a house, you will have an opportunity to have the home inspected before signing all of the paperwork at closing to take ownership of the property. This inspection is entirely for the home buyer’s benefit. It is designed to give you a clear picture of the property’s condition, including any items that might need repair. Home inspections can also help you identify potential hazards, such as faulty wiring within an electrical panel and similar issues. But home inspections usually are not required by mortgage lenders. It’s an optional procedure that you can decide on for yourself.

Do I need a lawyer?
In today's market most sellers will use the exact same purchase contract and just filling in a few blanks. Legal issues may arise that your real estate agent can't answer. In that case, you'll need an attorney's help. Although good agents know a lot about the negotiating and contracting part of the process, they can't make judgments on legal questions. When looking for a lawyer, consider one with real-estate experience in the state of purchase. 

When do I need to bring a lawyer into the process?
If you choose to have lawyer assist with your home buying process the can assist with the Agreement of Sale. Once you have the agreement, you can always choose to have an attorney review it as well.

When you're ready to make that big step, it is important to contact a local community lender that you can trust to meet your financial needs.