Getting Started…. The Basics

Part 1 –  Should I Buy A Home?

– What are the basic considerations when buying a home?

Making the transition from renter to home owner can be difficult for some. Owning a home does mean that you will be tied into that community, and that it won’t be so easy to pick up and leave. It is a lot like dating and getting married….renting is like dating, and buying a home is a lot like marriage. Besides the obvious answers of work, you need to ask yourself if you want a home, and if you are ready to take that next step into buying a home.

– What are the positives and negatives to home ownership?

Pros- paying your own mortgage, getting the tax advantages (a home owner is able to claim mortgage insurance, property taxes, and mortgage interest on their yearly taxes), being able to paint the walls whatever colors you want, becoming part of the community, putting down roots, and of course, the ability to have pets
Cons- if something breaks down you will be fixing it, you pay for all utilities, if you dislike your neighbors it is harder to move


– How do I know if I’m ready to buy a home?

This is a tough one to help with as only you can answer it. Are you resentful when writing that rent check? Do you drive around looking at homes? Do you imagine the color palette of your future home? Do you have a job? Are you ready for the responsibility of home ownership? …taking care of the home? …taking care of a yard?

Part 2 –  Finding My Home

How can I determine my housing needs before I start searching?

How do you live? What do you like about your current residence? What don’t you like? Do you have a school district you need to be? …a certain location? How many bedrooms, bathrooms do you want/need? Yard size? Garage? Again…how do you live?

– How do I begin the home buying process?

The first step in every home buying adventure should always be home buyer education classes. The next step is speaking with a lender (like Chris Berg with Advantage Mortgage 503-320-0925) to see how much home you can buy. A lender actually pre-approves you for a monthly payment…not a dollar amount.

– Should I work with a real estate professional?

Absolutely! When you are selling your current home, or buying a new home, hiring a Realtor is like hiring a lawyer when going into a legal situation. We are licensed to help people with the legal contracts and ins/outs of the home buying & selling process.

– How do I choose which real estate professional to work with?

Talk to friends and family…interview…ask questions. What questions should you ask? Take the home buyer &/or the home seller education class. See the home buyers/sellers blog regarding for a whole section on those. 🙂

– Should I sign a buyers agency, or services, contract with a real estate broker?

There is a lot to this and we will go more in depth regarding this in the home buyer education class.  As of January 1, 2024, this form is now a required form for a Realtor to have signed with a buyer in order to provide real estate services. It went from a 1 page form, to a 3 page form.  Take the home buyer education class to learn what you are signing when you do have this presented to you.  While every Realtor is supposed to go over this form and explain to you each paragraph, this is not always done. 

SPart 3 –   Paying For My Home

– How much of a mortgage can I get?
This is definitely a question for an experienced mortgage lender, and would require more of your time than I have here. Mortgage, in a nutshell, is determined on debt to income ratio….or how much money you have left after your debts are paid. A home buyer should always have a budget though to include those things that a lender may not so that one doesn’t over buy.

– Do I have to make a down payment? If so, how much?
It really depends on the home loan. If you are considering a conventional loan then at least 5% downpayment is needed. With the ‘right’ credit, there are conventional loans with 3% down payment available. A FHA (the most commonly used loan) requires a 3.5% down payment…..and then there are the government programs like USDA which requires no downpayment, and the WSHFC downpayment assistance loan which is a second loan you can get to help with the down payment. There are also other programs that may be available for you. This is something your lender can assist with.

– If I have bad credit can I still get financing?
Most loan programs require at least a 620 credit score. Not there yet? A lender can help you…. a good lender, like Chris Berg, will go over your financials, and credit score with you and give you steps and a plan to get to where you need, or want, to be. For example, I am currently looking for homes with a client who last summer had a 450 credit score….this summer she has a 680 credit score by following the steps that Chris provided.

– Do I have to pay any commission when I purchase my home?
A Realtor is an independent, 1099 contractor.  Realtors are paid via commission. Every Realtor runs their business differently and independently. You need to ask questions regarding how that Realtor gets paid when you purchase a home. There are Realtors who will have fees, and those that do not. 
Commission is never a set amount and is always negotiable. During the home buyer (and the home seller) classes, the fee structures surrounding commission is gone over in detail and explained so that you can use the knowledge to ask questions to make the best decision for your family.