Buying a Home – Make the First Right Step

You want to buy a home but for every good story you have heard you have probably heard another horror story from a friend who had a terrible experience buying a home. I have people tell me those stories all the time. How do you avoid those pitfalls? Where do you get answers? What are the right questions to ask? What is most important right now is that you know what to do first. If you start right, everything else can line up and you can buy a home easier and with a lot less stress than some other people you have heard about. So what do you do first?!
Before anything else, I want to say CONGRATULATIONS! For my wife and I, buying our first home was an amazing experience and we are so happy to own our own home! I want to help make this journey as smooth and stress free as I can for you.
The majority of people who want to buy a home start by looking at homes online. They discover features and finishes that they love for their new home in just the right neighborhood. My wife especially enjoyed looking at homes online and she stayed up very late – too late – too many nights doing so! It is exciting because you start to imagine yourself living in your new home! Your hopes are growing and the power of visualization is adding fuel to the fire the drives your insatiable desire to own your own home!
Other people start their journey by checking out some open houses. Maybe they have a particular neighborhood that they want to live in so they drive the area over the weekend, looking for open houses to peruse. Others wander around looking for any open house they can find pop in.
Some people start by calling a real estate agent they know and trust to tell him they want to buy a home and to ask for help. Pretty much all of these things are part of buying a home, but they are not the first thing you should do. The first thing you should to make buying your home as easy as possible is talk to a lender.
Why talk to a lender? Talking to a lender is a free, no obligation way to get the most important piece of information on buying a home that you can get – how much home you can afford. With a 15 minute conversation, a lender can give you a pretty close answer to how much you can afford. He will also tell you how much your mortgage payments would be for a home at that price. This is crucial information because I have found that for many buyers I work with there is often a difference between the amount they qualify for and the amount they are comfortable paying each month. You definitely want to avoid buying a home that you can barely afford to live in! In the notes below I’ve linked two amazing lenders that I regularly recommend to my clients.
You may be thinking, “That sounds like good information to have and something that I will eventually need to buy our home, but I don’t need to do that first, before anything else, right?” I would suggest to you that the information from the lender is so important to get first because it can radically change everything from that point on. You could find out that you can afford much more of a home that you thought. Now you are looking at entirely different homes online and visiting completely different open houses. You could also start looking at homes and allow your aspirations and hope to grow for certain homes. You can see yourself already living in a particular home and then find out that there is no way you could afford those homes. Now you feeling disappointed with anything else you start looking at.
Avoiding that pain and disappointment is why I personally will almost never show homes to a buyer if she has not spoken to a lender and gotten pre-qualified. I feel that I am not doing my job, that I am actually doing a disservice to you if I show you homes, let you fall in love with a home – maybe find your dream home – then have all of those hopes shattered when you find out you cannot afford that home. To me, that’s heartbreaking! Buying a home should be an exciting adventure and I want it to be as pleasurable and stress-free for you as it can be – so please talk to a lender first!
 
Anyways, I hope this REAL ANSWER has been helpful for you. Sign up at RealEstateRealAnswers.net to receive more REAL ANSWERS because no one likes fake answers. You can also ask your own questions and see the REAL ANSWERS to other questions. This is Real Estate and that’s the REAL ANSWER!
Tom Sawyer – NMLS #234589
Senior Mortgage Banker – Modern Mortgage – Managing Partner
512-291-5626
TSawyer@hlglends.com
John W. Burnam, Jr. – NMLS # 247530
Senior Loan Officer – SWBC Mortgage Corp – Oak Group
512-632-2012
John.Burnam@swbc.com

Twelve Energy Saving Tips

Tired of spending WAY too much money on electric bills? Trying to “save the planet”? Regardless of what your motivation is, we are almost all trying to be more efficient in our energy use these days. If you live in a apartment, you might will not be able to do all of these suggestions, but here are “12 Green Ideas for Your Home”

1. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to10 times longer! If every household in the U.S. changed just five of their most frequently used light fixture bulbs to CFLs, we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.

2. Reduce, reuse, and recycle—recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper and other goods. Use products in containers that can be recycled and items that can be repaired or reused. In addition, when going to the store, consider bagging your own groceries in cloth, reusable bags.

3. Fix leaks—faucets that leak flow at a rate of one drip per second and can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water a year, while  a leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons a day!

4. Turn off the water! The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute. So, turn off the faucet while brushing teeth. Doing so each morning and evening can save up to 8 gallons per day and 240 gallons a month!

5. Clean your driveway or sidewalk with a broom instead of hosing it down with water. You’ll save at least 80 gallons of water every time.

6. Use your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full. The average washing machine uses about 41 gallons per load.Try to avoid small, partial loads–and always use the proper load size selection—using large settings only when necessary.

7. Heat and cool efficiently—as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to these tasks. Be sure to change your air filter regularly, tune up your HVAC equiptment yearly, and seal your house thoroughly. In the summer raise your thermostat two degrees. In the winter lower your thermostat two degrees.

8. Install a programmable thermostat to better regulate the temperature in your house through the day and night. Using a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs and help the environment.

9. Consider replacing your appliances (or those you buy from now on) with ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-15 percent less energy and water than standard models.

10. Water Heater Temperature Settings: Setting the water heater at a lower temperature can save 5-10 percent of the energy bill. If the house does not have a dishwasher, the water heater should be set as low as possible and still maintain sufficient hot water for your family. Most fabrics do not require a high temperature during laundering either.

11. Ceiling Fans: In the summer, the fan should run at high speed to provide the desired breeze. Note that most ceiling fans are reversible. One direction is appropriate for summer while the other is for winter.

12. Be smart when irrigating your lawn or landscape; only water when needed and do it during the coolest  part of the day—early morning is best.

Source: http://www.epa.gov

Courtesy of: http://www.usinspect.com