Monthly Archives: April, 2010

Basic Steps for First-time South Central Vermont Home Buyers – PART III

A simplified guide for painless purchasing of your South Central Vermont home.

Okay, you’ve made your lists of: must have” and “would be nice” features, and you’ve identified desirable neighborhoods with the schools and amenities that meet your needs. Now it’s time to seriously shop for your first-time South Central Vermont home.

Before you even step outside to begin the search, your agent will email to you listings which meet your criteria, and you can “visit” many of them online via a virtual tour. Once you have narrowed down your choices, your agent will arrange for you to look at–in person– your selected properties. A few bits of advice here:

1) Take notes on each home you tour. Too often individual details blur after you’ve seen four (or more) houses in a day.

2) Look past the owner’s furnishings and décor. Concentrate on the features you have identified as important and try to picture yourself actually living in the space.

3) If you have decided that you don’t need a “move-in ready” residence, look at the potential of the property. Would simple cosmetic changes make a considerable difference?

4) Listen to both your head and your heart. Sometimes a property really does “speak” to you, and you know you have found your new home.

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Basic Steps for First-time South Central Vermont Home Buyers – PART II

A simplified guide for painless purchasing of your South Central Vermont home.

Part 2 of this four-part series dealt with analyzing your financial situation, getting prior loan approval, and determining your real needs/desires in a first home. All that having been accomplished, you will now want to look for a mortgage and decide which is the most advantageous for you.

As with any major purchase, you will want to shop around for the best deal. Contact several lenders (bank, savings and loan, credit union, private mortgage company, or a state or federal government lender.) Before doing that, however, you need to familiarize yourself mortgage types, terminology, and options. Your real estate agent will be helpful in this mission, as will the internet. Keying in First-time house buyers, mortgage assistance, HUD, or Community Housing Partners, will result in innumerable informative sites, a wealth of information for you to consider, and, most likely, a list of questions for you to ask your realtor and/or potential lender.

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Steps for First-time South Central Vermont Home Buyers – Part I

A simplified guide for painless purchasing of your South Central Vermont home

PART 1

Congratulations! So you’ve made the decision to stop renting and purchase a place of your own. The home buying process may initially appear complicated and a bit daunting, but by using the skills of a buyer’s real estate agent, searching the internet, and familiarizing yourself with each of the steps involved, your experience can be a smooth and rewarding one.

1. Analyzing your financial situation.

The first thing to do is to learn how much you can afford to pay for your South Central Vermont home. Generally speaking, mortgage costs, or PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance), should not exceed 26-28% of your gross monthly income. Many internet web sites furnish free tools for calculating these expenses for you. You can search under “calculating mortgage costs” or visit http://www.mortgagefit.com, http://www.bankrate.com, or http://www.bcsalliance.com, to name just a few. Remember that in addition to income, your credit rating, on-going monthly expenses, amount of the down payment, and the current interest rate must be factored into your financial analysis. Also take into consideration any HOA’s (homeowners’ association) dues, maintenance costs, and utilities you’ll have to pay on a monthly basis. You would be wise to investigate state and federal government programs which help qualifying first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs. Visit U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website for specific information which could be quite beneficial to you.

2. Getting prior loan approval.

The next step, before you ever begin actually looking a home, is to secure pre-approval for a loan. In order to do this, you will need to provide a potential lender with all necessary information about your finances. Your realtor will help you do this.

After performing a thorough and positive analysis of your financial situation, the lender will issue you a letter of approval which states the amount for which you qualify. This letter assures buyers that you are guaranteed a sufficient loan and that they are guaranteed a sale with no unpleasant surprises.

3. Determining your needs and desires.

If you are relocating to South Central Vermont, you will certainly want to familiarize yourself with the area–in person or via the net. Think about the type of community you’d feel most comfortable in. Older and established? Brand new and shiny? Consider age, style, and size you’d prefer. Would a fixer-upper be a good match for you? Is proximity to good schools important? What about the distance to and from your workplace? Traffic patterns and noise? Ample (and reserved?) parking? Do the community amenities suit your lifestyle? Do you want neighbors nearby?

Make lists for yourself. What are your “must haves”? Where do you want laundry facilities? Is an updated kitchen essential? Do you prefer an open floor plan? Who will maintain a large yard? Prioritize your wants and needs and revise the list when necessary.

As a first-time South Central Vermont home buyer, you’ll learn that you’ll have to make some compromises and that the whole process can be time-consuming–but oh, so exciting! Rely on your real estate agent to advise you about the advantages/disadvantages of specific locations and house styles and help you through the loan approval step. Because of his/her access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), he or she can search, with your wish list in hand, through thousands of listings to find the “ideal” South Central Vermont home for you.