If I were you I would first determine how much you can afford. That is best done by getting pre-qualifing for a loan. You will need a PQF (pre-qualification form) from a lender to be able to make an offer anyway. Your agent can recommend a lender. Not all lenders are created equal.
If you have a job, you will what to consider travel time.
If you are retired you might want to consider +55 communities.
Different neighborhoods will have condos in widely varying cost ranges depending on location ad desirability.
How much space and how many bedrooms. What amenities do you require (pool, walk to shopping, public transportation, water front lot, golf, etc.)
Search different communities to get a flavor for price and character. Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo and other national sites are frequently out of date and over half of their listings are no longer available. Further, they don't post new listings quickly. To avoid the problem, consider using my website http://www.CentralAZHomes.com to search which is updated hourly.
Don't forget to check out the neighborhood before you buy. Your agent cant legally tell you how "good" a neighborhood is because of federal law. But, you can review crime maps for the different cities and neighborhoods at http://centralazhomes.com/az-home-buyer-resources/phoenix-ne
Let me know if you have other questions.
Your Local Expert
Central AZ Real Estate
The first thing you should do is to see what you qualify for and if there is anything you need to do prior to getting started such as something that may show up on your credit report that shouldn't be there. You will want to know exactly what you qualify for prior to beginning the process of looking at homes.
It is actually a good idea to get updates from a Realtor so that you can see what homes are in your price range. Once you are ready to start making offers you will know a bit more of what homes are going for. It is a very competitive market here and if you are doing financing you will have to be patient as you will be up against investors paying cash for homes and they tend to get their offers accepted over financed offers. Knowing this will help you to be less frustrated. There are ways to try to make you offer more attractive though.
When looking at condos, you will also want to look at the association fees and what they cover. Some areas have very high association fees, but don't actually offer any more benefits than others that are much lower. Yet some that are higher will offer to pay for water or they may have more amenities in the development. You will also want to be sure that it is in an area that will be good for resale.
If we can be of further assistance in your home buying process, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Ron & Brenda Cunningham
West USA Realty
*** Recognized in the Phoenix Business Journal as "One of the Top 50 Realtors in the Valley" ***
Search the Official, Active, FlexMLS like a Realtor through our website for FREE:
The market has really heated up here so the places you see on the MLS now will most probably not be available when you move here in Jan. As the others have said, it is important to get pre-qualified by a lender first so you know what price range to look in. You also have to be comfortable with the monthly payments as many people qualify for more than they are comfortable paying. If you are buying a condo, you have to take into consideration the monthly HOA fees. Many of the condos today will not qualify for FHA loans so you would be better off putting more than 3.5% down and doing a conventional loan.
Even though the homes are going quickly now, it is still a good idea to get an idea of what is out there for the money. As it gets closer, you will be more familiar with the prices and the availability of the homes. Phoenix is a pretty big area. Do you know what part of Phoenix you are interested in living?
Follow the link to a search tool that will give you all the listings on our MLS. Most of the public sites do not have them all. If you contact me with your email address, I can send you specific directions on how to best utilize this search tool.
You need to find a Lender so you can get pre-qualified for a loan so you will know exactly what Purchase Price you can afford and what your monthly payments will be. Please note that your monthly payment will not include the HOA fee, Insurance and Utilities. I work with several Lenders that I can refer to you if you would like. After that you will receive a Pre-Qual Form from the Lender you choose which you will need to submit with the offer on the home you want to purchase. This can be accomplished by hiring a Realtor that is knowledgeable about Condos and many Lending Guidelines you must follow to make sure you get into a community that is FHA approved. I have been a Realtor for over 13 years and I would be more than happy to help you in Purchasing your First Home!
Have a GREAT evening!
Vivien L Biggs PLC
Prudential Arizona Properties
Check MLS for homes on my website
Oh, are you going to hear from a ton of realtors!! :)
From a lender's perspective, it is the Big Three: Credit, Assets and Income.
Credit--keeping paying your bills on time. Don't take out too much new credit between now and then. Don't take out ANY credit once you start the lending process, even for furniture, washer/dryer, etc.--wait until the keys are in your hand.
Assets--save up as much as you can, as there will be the down payment; prepaid homeowners insurance and real estate taxes; closing costs for the loan; along with move in costs; that furniture you will want; etc.
Income--You don't necessarily have to have worked at your job for a long time, unless you are self-employed. Don't quit your job in the middle of the process, until you have those keys in your hand. Don't try to hide expenses, as they will be discovered.
There is a good deal more to the lending process, and I would be glad to discuss it all if you wish to call. I love to work with first time buyers, as I get to educate them about the whole process and the level of enthusiasm is usually high.
NMLS #223607 (I had some one call me thinking this was National Multiple Listing Service :),it is National Mortgage Licensing Service)
Do you want to receive homes that closely match your criteria and get set you up with your own custom MLS portal (the same portal Realtors use) so you have instant access to all foreclosures, govt. foreclosures, distressed sales, and real estate deals? My email is sreiter(AT)remax.net and my number is 480.270.5222 if you wish to discuss. Just call or email me your thoughts thus far on what your are looking for in a home or condo. Also you can sign up on my MLS search website. Looking forward to hearing from you!