Buying A House Or A Home?
A house is just that, a house, until someone lives in it. That's when it becomes a Home. There's a big difference. At our house, we always say our home is "well lived in." And, with a family of six, four of them being between the ages of 9 and 15, this house has no choice! Our house, being in the family for over 65 years, is a well seasoned "home."
Who wouldn't love to live in a luxurious home with all the newest gadgets and high tech inventions? Well, I would venture to guess that most of us have thought of it. But, what's really important when you consider buying a home?
If you're a seasoned home shopper you may already have learned from experience what type, location, and price of home is good for your family. Setting some guidelines and priorities is a good way to start the hunt. First, make a wish list. This is a great starting point for anyone and will help get your priorities in order! Knowing what you want or need is half the battle.
This will include some essential questions you need to ask yourself also like, what you can afford?, are you willing to do renovations and how much?, and lists specific needs for your family.
Location, Location, Location...
Location can be flexible for some families, but must be specific for other families. Work, disabilities, and children are just a few factors that can influence location necessities or desires. For instance, if you don't want to commute long distance to work you will need to consider travel time to work. If you or a family member have disabilities that require special treatments or services, you will need to consider travel time to current providers, or consider availability of services in the new location. Local schools, and their reputations, will play an important role in location for those families with children, as well as neighborhood safety.
There's no satisfaction in qualifying for a loan that you can't afford! Consider your other obligations and how the new payment will affect your budget.
Sometimes, scrupulous mortgage brokers and lenders don't really consider if you can actually "afford" the loan for your home. They boast that they can get "anybody" a loan. That's easy when you don't really care about the final results. Besides, it's a secured loan, which means, your commitment is secured by your property. They'll simply take your home if you don't meet your commitment. So, be careful. Always use a reputable company for your mortgage needs. They may not tell you what you want to hear, but they'll look out for your best interests.
GinnieMae.gov has a calculator to help give you some idea how much you can afford. Always live within your means to prevent self-created financial disasters.
When you know what you can afford, shop and compare. Hud offers a great home buying booklet at http://www.hud.gov/buying/booklet.pdf, Looking for the Best Mortgage, that answers questions and prepares homeowners for the mortgage shopping experience. There is even a form for you to keep track of home loan comparisons.
Don't be a Victim of Loan Fraud
The Federal Citizen Information Center warns consumers to protect themselves from predatory lenders! Before you make a final decision, take the time to review the 11 Tips on Being a Smart Consumer at http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/housing/loanfraud/loanfraud.htm
When looking for a mortgage, don't forget to ask about specialty loans. You may qualify for specialty loans if:
~You're a Teacher
~You are purchasing a home that needs remodeling.
~You are a first time buyer
HUD answers 'Common Questions from First Time Home Buyers" at http://www.hud.gov/buying/index.cfm
Whether you're buying your first home or growing into a new home, you'll be successful if you take your time, know your priorities, and research all your options!
Happy Hunting. May the "House" you choose become a happy "Home!"
About the Author: Cheryl Johnson is a mother of four helping herself and others become, and remain, debt free. Publisher of the personal finance site Simple Debt Free Living at http://www.simpledebtfreeliving.com where you can find a free household budget plan and a variety of money saving tips to maximize savings