As a first time home buyer you often don’t have any idea what to expect.  In this installment we will establish steps to take in order to determine if you are ready to take the plunge into home ownership.
Consider the area that you are looking at buying.  Check out the selling price of comparable homes in the area.  You can do this by looking at the MLS listings in the area or on a number of online real estate websites.
Find an online mortgage calculator to determine your monthly mortgage payments.  Many realtors have bankrate home loan calculators on their sites in order to allow clients to estimate the payment they can expect monthly on various mortgage amounts.
After you have determined an approximate monthly mortgage payment it is important to look into the total monthly costs to operate the home including taxes and insurance.  In some situations homeowners have found that the money going into escrow can often double the monthly payment amount.
Determine how much your mortgage lender requires in closing costs.  The upfront expenses of the home loan should never be overlooked.  Closing costs can include a variety of fees including: origination fees, title fees, settlement fees, taxes, homeowner association fees and other prepaid expenses.
Consider your budget and consider how the house fits into the puzzle.  Most lenders recommend that homebuyers spend no more than twenty eight percent of their take home income on the cost of housing.  When buyers move upwards to thirty percent they take a chance on being house poor.  Being house poor means that you no longer have extra funds to spend on anything other than your home.  This is a risky spot to be in and should not be considered a way of life for the long term.
Talk to a local realtor to discuss the climate of real estate within the area that you are interested.  Do they believe that the area and housing prices will continue to increase, will the decrease or will they stabilize?  There is no guarantees on the housing market but the trends of the past can help indicate future behavior.
Consider the larger picture of homeownership.  Buying a home is a super investment and great way to build wealth.  First time homebuyers need to understand that maintaining this investment can be not only be intensive labor wise but also on your budget.  It is important to remember that no longer can expenses be passed off to the landlord.  When something breaks down it is yours and yours alone to fix.
These are just a few of the things for first time homebuyers to look at before they buy a home.
Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at