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Brad Hartman's Blog

By Brad Hartman | Mortgage Broker
or Lender in Atlanta, GA

Key Home Buying Tips

Purchasing a home is one of the largest decisions you will make in your life.  There are a lot of different aspects of purchasing a home that you need to be aware of.  I have outlined some of the more important tips that will help you with a smoother home buying process.

· Speak with a lender.  This is a very important to be sure you understand what to expect pertaining to the process of obtaining financing.  Even if you have purchased a home in the past 5 years there have still been a lot of changes that you will want to be aware of.  Speaking with a lender in the beginning of the process give you a better idea of what your home buying experience should look like and how to avoid some of the common issues that may arise.

· Understand your down payment options.  There are several different down payment options to be aware of.  The minimum down payment is traditionally an FHA mortgage.  There are down payments for this program as low as $100 down but standard FHA down payments are 3.5%.  Conventional mortgages are generally a better loan option than FHA but require 5% down .  If you put less than 20% down you will generally have PMI (private mortgage insurance), which adds to your monthly payment.  The more you put down the lower your PMI will be.  To get the very best loan term you will require a 20% down payment.

· Get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Having a pre-approval prior to starting the home buying process is crucial.  Getting prequalified allows you to estimate the loan amount and type that’s right for you. Then, when you’re searching for a home, you’ll know which homes are in your price range.  In addition to getting pre-qualified it is very important to speak with the mortgage professional to be sure to understand the home buying ins and outs to try to avoid undue strain further in the process.

· Find an agent. Finding the agent that meets your needs will take a bit of time and work on your part.  First, I recommend asking some trusted people in your close sphere for recommendations. Once you have a few names, take a few minutes to speak with each agent and this time spent should give you an idea which agent has the most knowledge of the market or area you are looking and which person you feel that has your best interest at heart.

· Be an informed buyer. You will want to do more research on neighborhoods and specific bedroom and bath and school district than simply looking at homes that have pretty pictures posted online.  Once you find an area you are interested in there is nothing better than simply talking to people in the neighborhood for “on the ground” information.

· Begin a fair offer.  Being that it is becoming less of a buyer’s market, it is important to be more competitive with your first offer.  There will now likely be multiple offers on the table with a new listing.  The offer should be within range of any of the other homes that have sold in the neighborhood in the past six months.  Your real estate agent will be able to help you with these numbers.  Also you need to be comfortable with what you will be paying for the home as well.  Be sure to be aware of the appraisal and financing contingencies as a backup plan just case any problems arise.

· Schedule a home inspection. Think you've found your dream house? This is one of the most important investments you can make prior to purchasing your new home.  Getting this inspection will help you be more comfortable that your home does not have major issues prior to moving in.  Even if there are issues with the inspection, don’t stress because this can often be addressed as a price adjustment. 

· Purchase homeowners insurance. This is part of the process it is again important to shop different providers to ensure you get the best deal for you and your family.  Be sure when comparing offers, you are receiving an apples to apples comparison.  Be sure that you understand the different in insurance between insuring the structure and insuring the contents.

· Review your HUD statement prior to closing. The government document outlines the numbers associated with the purchase of your new home. This document will allow you an exact number for the down payment you will be required to pay at closing.

I hope the information provided tools you with some key information that is needed to help you have as seamless home purchase experience as possible.  To discuss pre-qualification, any other mortgage or real estate related questions feel free to contact me directly at bhartman@cmghl.com or 678-578-7611.

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