How Do I Buy a House?

Chris + Claude - family

You’ve entered that stage- you know, the one where your friends are buying houses, renting a space has become a source of stress and you’re ready to put your own roots down. Or maybe you’re just thinking it would be fun to paint your kitchen cabinets yellow. 😉 Owning your own home gives you both a sense of security and a sense of freedom. Not to mention, you never have to worry about signing another lease, getting a move-out notice or dealing with a subpar landlord. 

Having entered this stage, you’re sure to be asking: How much money do I need? What’s a pre-approval letter? How do I find the right space for me? Read on for our answers to five questions you probably have as a home buyer.

How much money do I need to buy a house?

Your mortgage lender can answer this question.  One of the first steps to take when you are wanting to buy a house is to find a really great mortgage lender.  We recommend using a local lender who knows your market – not some lender from an ad on TV who lives halfway across the country. 

Although you can use your local full-service bank, we recommend contacting someone who specializes in residential mortgages.  A lender who specializes in writing residential home mortgages will probably have a few more loan packages available for you than a full-service bank.  

Like anything else, it is good to shop around for your lender. But if you are looking for a home in the Lancaster or Chester County area in Pennsylvania we can think of no one we would recommend more than Jodie Eckert from Caliber Home Loans. She has been phenomenal for so many of our clients and will find you the best loan package available.

After about a 15-20 minute phone call, your lender will determine what options are best for you. Based on your credit score and income levels your loan agent will give you an estimate of costs to purchase a home. There are two numbers that you will want to pay attention to: 1) the amount of money you will need for a down payment and 2) the amount of money you will need for the monthly payment.  A good way to determine what your comfort level is for a monthly payment is to compare it to your current housing expenses. If you are paying $1500 a month for rent and this feels very affordable you will probably also be fine purchasing a home that costs this much each month. 

What does a Mortgage-Lender do?

Your loan agent assesses your financial situation and needs, and then writes a pre-approval letter. The seller will look at your pre-approval letter after you offer to purchase their home.  This letter will tell the seller that although you don’t have enough money to purchase the home, your lender is willing to bring the funds necessary to purchase the home as long as it meets the conditions that the lender is looking for.

How do I find a real estate agent?

“I just called the number on the sign.”  I always cringe when someone tells me this.  Calling the phone number of the agent listing a home isn’t ethically wrong in any way, but there is a much better way to purchase a home.  The listing agent’s job is to help the seller sell their home for as much money as possible.  They aren’t on your team.  You want an agent who will be on your team. You want an agent that’s only representing you, not you and the seller.  Also, hiring an agent (if you are a buyer) is free of charge (that includes hiring us). 

What’s the best way to find the right home?

The most enjoyable part of the home buying process is touring potential homes. At what other time do you get to walk through random people’s houses for free?  We recommend getting into quite a few houses in the early stages of your search.  Buyers who take the time to look at homes in a variety of styles, locations, and price points tend to have the most confidence when they make their final decision.

After I find the right home, then what?

Once you find a home that you want to buy, your agent will guide you through submitting an offer that gives you the best chance possible to get the home.  If we are lucky enough to be your agent we have another whole bag of tricks that we will share with you at this stage. 

Now go get started on your own journey of buying a home. We are cheering you on!

Sincerely, The Chris & Claude Co Team 

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