No it is not to early to start the mortgage process to see what you qualify for, int. rates, then you can keep an eye on them and see how they change, it is always good to know which way they are going. Also its a good idea to have a property search so you can keep an eye on home prices as well.
Hope this helps,
There is little reason to start the Mortgage Application Process as thing will be very differnent by the time you are ready to go.
However, your timing will be a huge benefit in that it gives you a chance to learn how the process works here. I came here from England in 1979 and bought immediately on the assumption there would be little difference between the process here, and the one I was familiar with back there. That was a major mistake which cost me dearly. Take the time now to learn how things happen here as both the mortgage and Real Estate laws and processes are very different, and there are many pitfalls for the ill informed. When the time comes to venture out on the actual buying stage you need to know enough to ask embarassing questions of the people you will be working with.
We are mostly interested in New Construction or Homes that are less than 5-yrs-old,less than 520K.
We moved to the States 1 year ago so I don't know if that will be an issue with lenders.
We are still in the information gathering stage and will not be ready to close until Aug 2010.
We will be prepared to pay 20% down and our household income is >150K. Is it too early to think about the mortgage process if we are not ready to close until Late 2010?
My name is Allyson, I mainly work as a buyer agent and most of my clients are 1st time home buyers.
I am famliar with Santa Clara/ San Jose/ Milpitas having helped buyers purchase homes in each of these areas. I can advise you on obtaining a mortgage with the H1B work visa ( I suggest you get 2 to 3 quotes from lenders to get the best competative rates and get that staighten out BEFORE you begin with offers on properties as the banks are strickter now on H1B's you'll also need to sent a copy of your current visa to each lender. I can provide you with the lenders if you don't know any) . As far as new contruction homes I am familiar with the major builders in the area and there homes. I disagree with Bill on the fact that they do offer commisions and I have ALWAYS shown my clients new constuction if that is what they prefer.
I suggest you read over the profiles of a few of the agents and some of their answers here on trulia and contact the ones that you like the best. There are MANY good agents right here at your finger tips to chose from.
If you have any other questions feel free to contact me.
In the current lending environment, H1B visas are typically requiring a minimum of 20% down to qualify.
If your loan amount is over $729,750 the down payment would increase to 30% down.
As a first time homebuyer, it will be critical that you have at least 2 years established residency and some open credit in good standing.
I am happy to review options for you when you are ready to review them.
Broker/Senior Mortgage Planner
The Honte Group
First off I have to agree with Bill he gave you a synopsis of a lot of good information. In addition to that I would like to add you need to be looking for an agent who will be patient and realize selling a home to a first time buyer is going to take time and a lot of explaining. Buying a home is one of the three most stressful things in our lives, right up there with marriage and a new job. So do choose an agent carefully, you are going to want an Agent with experience and knowledge of construction.
In regards to new construction, I just listed and sold four brand new homes in Santa Clara, that were on the MLS, so a good agent can find you the smaller projects and help you through the process. My office is in Santa Clara and I have worked San Jose and Santa Clara for over 25 years, but to be honest, if you are interested in Milpitas, find a local agent that specalizes in Milpitas.
You will get many responses from agents and others on this site. I suggest you evaluate the answers recieved and choose one or more to talk to and possible interview. Let me make a few comments re your specific questions:
1. You need to work with a Realtor (not just someone with a license). There is a significant difference.
2. They need to be able to give you details of the 1st time homebuyer programs available at Federal, State, County, and City levels. A reference to a web site does not constitute advice. In your case many of these programs are not available to an H1b visa holder, but others are.
3. Any agent from this site will ba able you help you anywhere in Santa Clara Valley, and probably beyond.
4. New construction is not a specialised field. Most builders do not pay Agent commisions so we have no incentive to show a client these. You of course are free to consider them but you will typically get a better deal from the builder if you do not involve an agent.
5. Spend some time looking at the history of answers provided, and check out referalls from each interesting agents website/blog.
6. Take the time to learn what you need to know to be an active and informed buyer, able to ask embarassing questions of those who stand to gain from your business (myself included).
Good luck, Bill