The whole homebuying experience can feel overwhelming – especially if this is your very first purchase! These are the top five questions we hear from first-timers in Houston.
1. “Which loan program is best?”
The FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan program was actually made for first-time buyers. You may have heard a 20% down payment is required to buy a home – not true!
Here are some of the big benefits with the FHA program
- Only 3.5% down payment required
- Credit scores as low as 580 may qualify
- Condos and multi-unit properties are eligible
It’s a good idea to get pre-approved for your loan before you start looking for a house. That way, when you find the right one, you’re not scrambling with paperwork.
[block quote, WP design element] What do you qualify for, and how much can you afford? The Wood Group of Fairway Mortgage was named Houston’s mortgage lender of the year! Get started with their easy online questionnaire.
2. “When is the best time to buy?”
This doesn’t have one single answer. But, the housing market tends to have its seasons.
During the summer months, the market’s hot. Lots of buyers are looking to move into new homes. Kids are out of school, and work is in rhythm. The summer months may be more competitive with other buyers, but there’s generally more properties to choose from, too.
On the other hand, the winter months tend to slow down. Home owners that didn’t sell in the summer may be more flexible with pricing. The downside is that your selection may narrow a bit. An experienced agent with the Lippincott Team can help you see what’s available in your area.
3. “How much lower can I offer below asking price?”
The simple answer: making an offer 10% below asking price is seen as aggressive. It’s not rude, but it’s a significant drop for the seller.
But with seller concessions, your closing speed (and lots of other factors), sellers may be willing to budge a little more. If there’s multiple offers for the same house, the seller may be less prone to budge.
4. “Is buying more cost-efficient than renting?”
In general, yes! Texas is a great place to become a homeowner.
When you pay rent, your landlord has to make a little profit. When you rent, you’re never getting that money back. When you buy, you have the opportunity to sell later. Your monthly payments when owning a house can easily match or fall below the cost of renting.
Check out this step-by-step guide to find out if buying a house is worth it for you.
5. “What are the ingredients in a good property?”
When you’re buying a home for your family, the property needs to be structurally sound. That means the foundation, roof, and “bones” of the house are in good shape, and are set to last. A professional third-party inspector makes a checklist to ensure your new home is good to go.
When new offices and centers for entertainment are built around your house, your property value goes up. Texas is a very fast-growing state – good news for new homebuyers.
3. Schools, crime, similar comps
The quality of schools will affect how much you’ll be able to sell your home for later. Crime statistics are also another thing families look out for before buying. Take a look at how homes similar to the ones you’re interested in have increased in value over time. That may give you an idea of what to expect after a few years.
4. Your own preferences!
Are you close enough to the places most important to you? Does the floorplan accommodate your living situation? Stats and data are important to pay attention to, but remember that you’re living in your investment!