Buying a home really should be fun yet all too often it's one the more stressful times in a person's life. Organization really is the key and a good place to start.
Before you ever see the first house make some decisions. What's your price range? Be careful with this one, it's not what you qualify for, but what you can afford.
Do the schools in this area meet your standard? What's the crime rate in these area's? How many registered sex offenders? Decide how far you're willing to commute to work each day and how accessible are grocery stores? Restaurants? Shopping? Once these questions have been answered, look at the locations you're interested in. Drive thru the area during the day, at 10 o'clock Friday night, during rush hour, still like what you see? What do the houses look like? Are the yards being kept up? Houses look well maintained?
Look at the HOA rules, can you live with these rules? Read thru the rules before you buy and preferably before you look, the rules are different from neighborhood to neighborhood with some being incredibly stringent, some far more relaxed. One neighborhood in the Houston area demands a certain tree be in your front yard and must approve what decorations adorn your flowerbeds. True story, my daughter lives in this neighborhood and it's a beautiful neighborhood - I'd be more likely to look for things to put in my flower bed just to keep the HOA on their toes. I probably shouldn't look at houses here. Other HOA's are far more lenient, demanding things like garbage cans be out of sight, weeds out of the flowerbeds, etc. I think the HOA rules are the one thing that blindsides most home buyers, they don't even think about it until after closing or perhaps after they receive their first letter.
Talk to a lender. A good lender will answer questions, walk you through things you may not understand, explain exactly what to expect each step of the way. If you don't feel comfortable asking questions, you're talking to the wrong lender. One of my favorite things about Houston, Texas? It's the fourth largest city in all of America - it aint a one stop shop! There are a lot of really good online lenders as well, which makes staying with a lender you just aren't comfortable with super silly! Your agent should be able to suggest a good lender, but that's all it is - a suggestion!
I'll continue this post tomorrow, and please leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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