1.) Get pre-qualified. This just takes a 10 minute phone call to the bank (I like SunTrust), and it tells you the range you can afford.
2.) Research first-time home buyers programs. I've found so many tips this way!
3.) Take a home buyers ed course. You can do this online or find a seminar.
4.) Find a good buyers agent, who is patient and will answer all your questions. (I found mine by reading his blog).
5.) Just do your research in general. Learn about how your local market is working, make a list of what you want and list your priorities.
Good luck! We're in this together! :)
Annie gave you GREAT advice! John, on the other hand, probably has a bomb shelter in his house and uses a ham radio every day, monitoring secret messages from around the world.
Don't buy for the market, buy for yourself.
May I suggest 2 books - both by David Bach. The Automatic Millionaire and The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner. I gave the first of those two to each of my sons when they graduated HS - its everything we, as parents forget to tell you. It tells you how to take the $25 you have and use it for your daily expenses, your debt, your emergency fund, your retirement fund and your house fund. It starts talking about owning... but the second book builds on that far more.
Note that the term is "automatic" not instant - these are not get rich quick books, they are not schemes or Carlton Sheetz kinds of a high risk/high gain deals. These are REAL life lessons here - teaching you to make saving AUTOMATIC, so you don't think about it; so you don't blow your retirement - or never own a house - because you had too many lattes.
If you need the name and number of some qualified lenders just give me a call or email me. Since my expertise is in Foreclosures, Short Sales and Government Owned properties, I can get you the most for your money when the time comes for you to do a home search.
With your income, it all depends on your monthly recurring debt such as student loans, credit card bills, and monthly car payments. If youâ€™re going for a masters degree, then I assume you have a rather large student loan balance? Unfortunately, lenders calculate all debt against you, and this lower your qualifying amount.
If you had no recurring monthly debt, and if you only earn $15,000 yearly, this would only qualify you for a mortgage of about $60,000. Unfortunately, there arenâ€™t any properties available in this price range in the entire Hampton Roads, decent or not.
If your masters will significantly increase your income over the coming years, then I suggest that you wait until you can show at least two years history with this new income. If your student loans are over $10,000, then you might also want to pay down as much of these loans as possible over the coming years.
But you have a lot going for you, and thatâ€™s a good thing! You must already realize the huge tax savings afforded only to home owners, and thatâ€™s smart! And at the risk of sounding like a skipping CD, our local area is NOT experiencing the market slow down like the rest of the Nation (i.e.: California).
I suggest that you contact a â€œlocalâ€ Realtor, lender, or CPA. Iâ€™d be happy to speak to you about your future income, and make any additional suggestions or recommendation.
I hope this information was â€œthumb-upâ€œ helpful to you!
Frank Biganski, Realtor ABR
Would love to get your feedback on why you are buying...I've been asking many people on the site the same question...
Merrill Lynch announced that home prices are going to fall 30 percent by 2010. Home prices have fallen significantly in the past year across the country. Mortgage rates are resetting and foreclosures are popping up. The economy is either in a recession or on the verge of a recession depending on whom you speak with...Also, if you look at any of the most fundamental charts about home prices, they will show that homes are way overpriced based on home prices vs rent prices, and home prices vs. income.
In spite of the horrible state of the market, what would drive you to buy anyway?
Really, I'm not trying to be disrespectful or rude. I'm actually very curious why you would buy in light of all the evidence that housing is a terrible place to put your money right now...
And at 23 you're thus not "too young". So really it boils down to what you're capable of and what is best for you. Talk to some lenders and/or mortgage brokers and see what you are capable of, and don't spread yourself too thin if you do decide to buy. But you sound responsible, so if you can find the right house at a price you can afford monthly, go for it!
Broker, CRS, GRI, ePro
Raving Real Estate
Laramie, WY 82070
You may want to speak with a lender who can tell you what you're approved for. This will give you an idea of what you can (or can't) buy in your area, which will surely affect your decision.
You may also want to check out a post I recently wrote entitled "Should You Buy or Rent In This Market?" (link below).
Talk to a lender and ask him/her to calculate the principal, interest, the tax and insurance for different price ranges and pick the one you are most comfortable with. That is your starting point. Now call a Realtor and look at homes to figure out what you like.
If you are still single this adventure probably will be step number one. Step number two will result after marriage and children enter the picture. At that time your needs will change, resulting in possibly a different consideration for a home. To this end, it is important to select a home that will be desirable for future sale so that you will be able to meet your family needs.