Real Estate 101
You can spend many, many hours in class learning the various aspects of the “Real Estate” industry, or you can take a look, below where we have comprised a quick list of the most frequently asked questions with brief answers. We hope you find them of some assistance.
What can I afford?
Most lenders suggest that your monthly payment is 36% or less of your total income. Feel free to contact one of our agents for more accurate information about what type of loan will work best for your situation, as well as any special programs that may be available to you.
What is involved in qualifying for a loan? What information will be needed?
The first step in getting a home loan is the pre-qualification process, which will determine what you will be able to afford. Then, an application is taken, which lenders used as a basis for approval.
We can help you with the pre-qualification process, in person or over the phone. It involves the analysis of your income as it relates to your total debt (called a “debt-to-income ratio”), and it is used to determine what type of loan and mortgage payment you can afford.
Information you will need for an application includes:
Credit account information (such as credit cards, car payments, etc.)
Income information (such as pay stubs or tax returns from the last two years).
Virtually any information that may be required by the lender.
What should I look for when choosing an area to buy in?
The location is critical and influenced by the needs and preferences of the individual. Some of the factors to taken into consideration may include:
Distance from work
Size of the yard (if there is one)
Location of schools and shopping
Available bus service
Our agents can be a valuable resource in finding a place that is right for you, so feel free to speak to us!
What can I expect regarding the time involved from beginning a purchase to actual move-in?
Buyers should expect anywhere from ten to thirty days from the loan application to the real closing date. On average, purchase offers are written in a 30-45 day period, and the possession of the property will be on the day the seller receives payment.
How can I determine where to live if my family has special needs?
One of our agents can help you find properties that have special accommodations (such as wheelchair access, schools with special education facilities, and elevators).
I need a place now! Is it possible to rent until a loan closing?
Renting the property you want to buy will limit your choice of homes as many of them are occupied. While it is possible, you might be better off looking for a temporary rental that you can live in while you wait. Group One Real Estate offers assistance in helping you to find short-term rentals.
What things should I consider as most important in the buying of a home?
Your emotional and physical comfort should be more important than anything else. You don’t want to overbuy and make yourself miserable every time the mortgage is due, as it will create more problems for you down the road. The home’s resale value should be taken into consideration as well. Even if you have no plans to move for years to come, you have to factor this into the equation. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a home that you are unable to sell.
What is the cash requirement when buying a home?
The “cash” requirements will depend on the type of loan you qualify for from your lender. FHA loans are designed to make homeownership more accessible for first-time buyers, as well for low or middle-income individuals. They have lower down payments, and their credit requirements aren’t as strict. Grant programs are also available for first-time buyers, which may allow you to buy a home with $300 or 3% of the price of the home. Feel free to speak to one of our agents to get more information about what qualification options you may have.
What is the Texas Veterans Housing Assistance Program? How might I determine if I am eligible for this program?
The VHAP offers home purchase loans of up to $325,000, and you might be able to get a lower interest rate than the current market value. Rate discounts are also available to service-era veterans, teachers, and those with service-related disabilities. The loan use can be for the purchase of a home, or it can be used to finance another investment. Feel free to speak to one of our agents to get more information about these types of programs.
Are there any special “first-time buyer” programs available?
There are three programs frequently used.
Down payment assistance up to $3,000
Mortgage credit certificate (allows added tax savings)
New home purchase assistance up to $15,000.
What is earnest money?
Texas purchase offers typically written with an option period of 10-20 days, which is when the buyer may perform inspections on the property. The purchase offer will also reflect the amount of “earnest money” (or good faith money)deposited to the appropriate title company. These funds go toward to the down payment as well as additional closing costs.
Should I consider leasing with an option to buy?
Just as the need to rent before closing, leasing with the possibility to purchase the property, later on, will limit your selection.
What are the advantages to leasing, and those of buying?
Your monthly costs might be greater than a mortgage payment, but if something breaks or needs maintenance, all you have to do is call the landlord. Leasing can also give you more ease of movement from one place to another. However, buying a home can not only give you the sense of pride that comes from owning your property, but it can also come with some other benefits (such as tax deductions, forced savings, and building equity). Leasing provides ease of movement from place to place.
OK – What should I do first?
Call your Group One REALTOR®!
Feel free to contact our office by phone or e-mail, or you can stop by during our regular business hours. Our agents are always there to help you with any questions or concerns you may have, so get in touch with us today!