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Home Buying Resolutions for 2013

published on January 9, 2013

amenities for homes in Avery RanchTopping the list of many Austinite’s New Year’s Resolutions may be securing healthier bodies and healthier financial lives. One major step towards financial security is investing in smart home buying with the help of an Austin REALTOR. Planning out each step of the home buying process can make achieving the goal of home ownership in 2013 easier and stress free. Follow the steps below, inspired by, to make financial health and home ownership a realized goal:

Resolution #1: Map What You Want

Just like planning a diet and exercise strategy, it is important to pre-determine what you want in and from a home. This can include deciding what features are most desirable, the location of a home (would you prefer an Austin home on a lake or an easy commute with homes close to Downtown Austin?) the style of a home, and what changes are foreseeable in your future. If a family will grow or shrink, a job transition will occur, or a similar change will take place, a home should be purchased in anticipation of these changes.

Resolution #2: Putting Financial Ducks in a Row 

Determining what price tag on a home is affordable can be done personally or with the help of a REALTOR, financial planner, or loan officer. Home prices can include down payments, mortgage payments, property taxes, closing costs, and other potential fees. A REALTOR can help predict how much these costs will be for homes in different parts of Travis County or Williamson County, where desirable homes in Avery Ranch are located.

Resolution #3: Seek Pre-Approval

A loan officer can give pre-approval for a loan amount based on credit scores, income, and assets. While it is not necessary to spend the entire amount of an approved loan, it can help gauge what houses are worth pursuing, and which, if any, are out of range. A pre-approval letter can be a powerful tool when making an offer to a home seller.

Resolution #4: Find Your New Home & Make an Offer

A REALTOR has access to all of the current home listings available and can provide suggestions for homes that match a prospective home buyer’s desired criteria. A REALTOR also can arrange visits to homes on the market, as well as find out answers to questions regarding a home’s condition, or if looking for a master-planned community like Steiner Ranch homes for sale, what amenities are available to residents. When ready to make an offer, a REALTOR can broker a deal between the buyer and the seller. When an offer is accepted, get a quality home inspection before closing on the home.

Resolution #6: Understand Mortgages

Mortgages can seem confusing, but most follow the same guidelines. Loans with 5% down or less are available, but if you place less than 20% down, lenders will want the mortgage guaranteed by an outside third party such as the Veterans Administration (VA), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA,) or a private mortgage insurer (PMI, or private mortgage insurance, is required by lenders to protect against mortgage defaults). Having a strong credit score guarantees the best rates and terms from a mortgage company. Mortgage financing can be obtained from mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks, credit unions, and insurance companies.

Resolution #7: Close On Your New Home

The closing process, which in different parts of the country is also known as “settlement” or “escrow,” is where ownership of a home and its keys are transferred to the buyer. At closing itself, all papers have been prepared by closing agents, title companies, lenders, and lawyers. This paperwork reflects the sale agreement and allows all parties to the transaction to verify their interests. For instance, buyers get the title to the property, lenders have their loans recorded in the public records, and state governments collect their transfer taxes.

Owning a home can be a monumental financial decision and an equally monumentally sound decision over renting. After purchasing a home, be sure to acquire insurance, and keep all records of the sale close at hand for filing 2013’s taxes. The next step? Using your new neighborhood’s sidewalks and amenities to keep up with the other common New Year’s goal: a healthier you.

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