KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AS A HOMEBUYER
There are many laws that protect you from scams, unnecessary expenses,
and discrimination in the process of homebuying. Know your rights!
Fair housing laws
Honest lending contract
HOW MUCH MORTGAGE CAN YOU AFFORD?
You can save yourself a lot of wheel-spinning if you take a minute to figure out how much
mortgage you can afford. Generally, a lender will want your monthly mortgage payment to
total no more than 29% of your monthly gross income (thats your monthly income
before taxes and other paycheck deductions are taken out.) You also need to consider
current loan interest rates. The lower the interest rate, the more expensive the home
youll be able to afford. Follow our tips and use our simple calculators to see how
much you can afford in a mortgage payment.
CREATE YOUR "WISH LIST"
Make your wish list. Focus on the features you want in a home: 2
bedrooms or 3? 1 bath or 2? Garage or no garage? Knowing what youre looking for will
help you focus your search. And it will help your real estate agent, too.
YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT
Youll want to start searching for a broker as soon as you decide to buy a
home. Talk to several and find someone you think youll be comfortable
working closely with. Many of your friends and relatives have probably
bought and sold their homes through brokers. Ask them who they used and what their
experiences were. You can find out which brokers specialize in the kind of home or the
area you want by looking in the Yellow Pages or your local newspapers classified
real estate ads. Or drive through neighborhoods and note the names of brokers on "for
sale" signs. When you talk to prospective brokers, ask questions about the areas and
types of homes in which youre interested. Do they seem knowledgeable? Most
important, is their personal style a good fit with your own?
Choosing your real estate agent
Secrets to getting the best agent
MORTGAGES AND HOMEBUYING PROGRAMS
Many different kinds of mortgages are available to you. Read about them,
and make sure you understand the pros and cons of each. Your real estate agent can help
you. HUD offers some special homebuying programs. Also, many local governments offer
special homebuying programs to help low-income homebuyers. Shop around - you may be
surprised at all your options!
Shopping for your best mortgage deal
Federal mortgage programs - including HUDs FHA!
Buying a HUD home
HUDs special homebuying programs
Officer Next Door
Teacher Next Door
Homeownership for women
Homeownership for public housing residents
Local homebuying programs
Lenders who can help you with HUDs FHA mortgages
Condos and developments approved for FHA mortgages
HUDs energy-efficient mortgage
The Energy Star Program
SHOPPING FOR A HOME
So now you really begin house-hunting. Your real estate broker will be able to find
listings for you, based on your wishlist. But dont stop there! You can do your own
looking, and then ask your broker to show you the house. Start with the internet. Pick up
real estate flyers at local grocery stores and convenience stores. Read the real estate
sections of your local newspaper. Drive around neighborhoods that interest you and write
down addresses where there are "for sale" signs. Go to open houses. Try
everything! And use our convenient home-shopping check list to help you compare the houses
Homes for sale
Learn about the neighborhood
BUILDING A HOME
If you want to build a new home, there are other things you need to know
before you begin. Learn about construction standards and about buying
land, so you know your rights.
How to buy a new home
Federal construction standards
Do you want to buy land for a home? Know your rights!
About land sales
Questions and answers
Do's and don'ts
Manufactured homes can be a great alternative for first-time home buyers.
Again, its good to know how the laws protect you.
Manufactured Home Consumer's Guide
Manufactured homes network
Mobile Home Parks
REHAB A HOME
You may want to consider buying a "fixer-upper." If so, there are federal
programs that can help you finance your repairs.
National Renovation Lenders Association
Rehabiliation mortgage insurance
Q&A about rehab mortgage insurance
Property improvement loan insurance
HUD approved lenders
HOME program local contacts
When you make an offer on a home, its a good idea to make your offer
contingent on a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized
inspector. You will have to pay for this inspection yourself, but it could keep
you from buying a house that will cost you far more in repairs, down the
road. If you are satisified with the results of the inspection, then your offer
can proceed. If you arent, you may want to negotiate, asking the seller to
pay for certain repairs or asking for a lower price.
Homebuyer protection plan
Consumer home inspection kit
Your lender will require you to get an appraisal of the house you want to
buy, to make sure its worth the money that youre borrowing. You may
select your own appraiser, or you may ask your real estate agent to help
you take care of that.
Homebuyer protection plan
About appraisors and appraisals
SETTLEMENT OR CLOSING
Finally, youve gone through the whole process, and youre ready to go to
"settlement" or "closing." We know youll be excited, but be sure
everything you sign! And before you go, read this important information
about your rights.
Settlement cost and helpful information