Our family moved to the Gwinnett County area almost 9 years ago. The move was made because we wanted to move somewhere with more opportunities for our kids. We grew up in Gainesville and were just tired of the area so we found a great house in Buford. The area was nice, the schools were highly rated and people were flocking to this region. Mill Creek was looked at as one of the better schools in the Georgia and after visiting the schools we decided to move. My two oldest kids graduated from high school and my youngest is finishing up her sophomore year. We are hoping to move before our youngest become a senior in high school. During that time, she is slated to graduate early and start college. Below are the steps we are taking on our journey to purchase a new home.
Are We Ready to Buy a New Home?
We actually love the area we live in and the house is nice also. The question was, are we ready for a new home? When we first talked about the possibility of moving, this was talked about a lot. We are ready and have decided this will be our final destination and where we will grow old at. Our conversations have included our oldest kids because we need to know there plans on moving out. We are not rushing them because we know how expensive it is for them to rent something right now. As of now, we have been saving a lot of money ever since the pandemic hit. Our credit is great and we think in the next year will be a perfect time to do it.
Calculating How Much We Can Afford
One thing we have done over the last several years is budget our funds. Our debt-to-income is almost perfect and will be better once I pay my truck off next year. There is a world of difference when you’re renting as opposed to owning. With ownership, you have to factor in property taxes, home insurance and those unexpected costs due to something breaking. You can check out a mortgage calculator to get an idea of how much we can afford.
Money for Down Payment and Closing Costs
There are many programs that help you when it comes to down payment. We want the 20% down payment that many want you to have when you’re ready to buy. FHA loans have a minimum down payment of 3.5%. VA loans and USDA loans even allow eligible and qualified borrowers to put 0% down. By this time next year, we should be exactly where we want to be as far as that is concerned. The closing costs are the fees you pay to get the actual loan. We figure we need to save around 5% of the home value. With the ongoing pandemic, we’re hoping to find a lender that’s lenient with some of the costs.
Hopefully We Get Preapproved for a Mortgage
When you figure that you’re ready for a new home, try to get preapproved for a mortgage. If you’re approved, the lender will give you a letter stating how much you are approved for. There are many types of mortgages you can be approved for. The conventional loans are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These are the ones many in the United States use the most and you can get with as little as 3% down. The FHA loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration and is through the government. The VA loans are for veterans and it affiliated with the military. The final one is the USDA loan and it’s also backed by the government. ou can get a USDA loan with 0% down, but your home must be in an acceptable rural area and you must meet income eligibility rules.
Find a Real Estate Agent
The home buying process can be complicated and emotional. Having an agent by your side can help you navigate the housing market, submit a legally sound offer and avoid overpaying for your property. The real estate agent is there as your representative throughout the home buying process. They will give you a listing of homes that meet your requirement and criteria. The real estate agent also will help negotiate prices for you.
Start House Hunting
Your real estate agent will assist in the process of finding a house within your budget. Before looking, make a list of everything you are looking for in a house and area. The size, home conditions, distance from your job, bedrooms and school district. There are a couple of things we’re looking at and that are the landscape and we want a basement. Make sure the house has everything that you are looking for because you don’t want to spend extra money.
Make an Offer
If you are planning to move to an area that is coveted, you need to do this as soon as possible. The Braselton area we want to move has become a hotbed for new families. When you decide to make an offer on a home, you must submit an offer letter in writing. Your offer letter includes details about yourself (like your name and current address), the price you’re willing to pay for the home and more. It will also include a deadline for the seller to respond to your offer. Most offers also include an earnest money deposit. An earnest money deposit is a small amount of money, typically 1% – 2% of the purchase price. Your earnest money deposit goes toward your down payment and closing costs if you buy the home.
Finishing Up the Process
Make sure you get the home inspected before purchasing it. Purchasing a home is such a huge investment; you want to make sure things are good with the home. Get the home appraised after your inspection. A home appraisal is a review that gives the current value of the property you want to buy. You must get an appraisal before you buy a home with a mortgage loan. After the appraisal, you will do a final walkthrough to make sure everything is what it needs to be. During that time, you check every little thing you can think of. Afterwards, it’s time to finally close on what hopefully is your dream home. Your lender is required to give you your Closing Disclosure, which tells you what you need to pay at closing and summarizes your loan details, three days before closing.