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CyberCity 2000  HomeBuyer's Guide

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15 Most Common Questions

Planning Your Move

There are many laws that protect you from scams, unnecessary expenses,
and discrimination in the process of homebuying. Know your rights!

Fair housing laws
Homebuyers rights
Honest lending contract
Borrowers rights

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 (that’s 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 you’ll be able to afford. Follow our tips and use our simple calculators to see how much you can afford in a mortgage payment.

Mortgage tips
Mortgage calculators
HomePath calculators

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 you’re looking for will help you focus your search. And it will help your real estate agent, too.

You’ll want to start searching for a broker as soon as you decide to buy a
home. Talk to several and find someone you think you’ll 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 newspaper’s 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 you’re 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

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
Conventional mortgages
Federal mortgage programs - including HUD’s FHA!
Buying a HUD home
HUD’s special homebuying programs
Officer Next Door
Teacher Next Door
Bridal registry
Homeownership for women
Homeownership for public housing residents
Local homebuying programs
Lenders who can help you with HUD’s FHA mortgages
Condos and developments approved for FHA mortgages
HUD’s energy-efficient mortgage
The Energy Star Program
Housing counseling

So now you really begin house-hunting. Your real estate broker will be able to find listings for you, based on your wishlist. But don’t 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 you see.

Homes for sale
Home-shopping checklist
Learn about the neighborhood

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
Consumer agencies
Built Online

Manufactured homes can be a great alternative for first-time home buyers.
Again, it’s good to know how the laws protect you.

Manufactured Home Consumer's Guide
Manufactured homes network
Fact sheet
Consumer publications
Mobile Home Parks

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
Energy-efficient mortgages
HUD approved lenders
HOME program
HOME program local contacts

When you make an offer on a home, it’s 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 aren’t, 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 it’s worth the money that you’re 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


Finally, you’ve gone through the whole process, and you’re ready to go to
"settlement" or "closing." We know you’ll be excited, but be sure to read
everything you sign! And before you go, read this important information
about your rights.

Settlement cost and helpful information

Copyright 1998-2008 Ron Haines, all rights reserved