Take Time to Pick the
Right Builder for Home
“When you’re buying a new home, you’re not just buying a building and a place to live, you’re buying services as well.”You’ve finally made the decision. You’re going to buy a new home.
You’ve finally made the decision. You’re going to buy a new home.
But the biggest decision still remains. How do you find a builder who will give you the best value for your money?
When selecting a builder, you want to make sure you make the right decision. Choose the builder as carefully and selectively as you do the style of house.
The real estate section of the newspaper is a good place to begin.
Check the newspaper to find out where the homes you’re interested in are located and visit the development. Do some homework on the company.
Pick up the promotional material and formulate a list of questions. What type of history does the builder have? How long have they been in business? Are they known for customer service?
Remember most of the promotional material will be geared toward selling the home and will have been written by an employee of the company or an agent or agency working for the company.
Check out homes the builder built in other neighborhoods.
Weekends are a good time to catch people at home. Ask people living in these homes questions about the builder. Don’t be afraid to knock on doors. Introduce yourself and explain what you’re doing.
Several opinions are better than one. Talk with a couple of homeowners in each neighborhood.
The Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (BAMP) is another good resource.
BAMP can be reached at (412) 434-5690.
Other excellent sources include real estate agents, customer references and friends and neighbors.
Friends, relatives and neighbors can provide you with information on builders who have done work for them and let you know about their experience.
Ask plenty of questions and then ask some more.
Make sure these questions are answered before signing on the dotted line:
- Is the builder an established member of the community where you want to build your home and live?
- What does the builder offer in terms of customer service?
- Will the builder give you references from other customers?
- Is the builder a member of a trade association like BAMP?
- Is the builder involved in the community?
Ask for a list of awards and accomplishments.
When you’re buying a new home, you’re not just buying a building and a place to live, you’re buying services as well
If you do your homework, you’ll find the home of your dreams.
Picking the Right Location
Makes House a Home
Location, location, location.
When it comes to choosing a new home, picking the right location is as important as selecting the right builder.
Making sure you pick the right neighborhood for you and your family is vital to ensuring your happiness in your new home. When making the selection, it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable in all areas and it’s also important to understand that you just might have to make some compromises to find a home that suits your needs.
There are plenty of questions that must be answered before you pick a place to call home. Here are a few questions that need answered when you’re choosing a neighborhood.
How close is the nearest shopping center?
How close is the nearest medical facility?
Will I have a long commute to work? Is public transportation available?
Is there room to expand this this home?
Families with young children will want to know where the schools are located.
Dual income families with children will need to know where the daycare facilities are located.
Children and parents will want to know where the parks and other recreational facilities are located. Along the same lines, parents with young children will probably want to live in neighborhoods where there are plenty of other young children.
Determining the proximity and importance of such things will help you choose the right neighborhood. Some people don’t mind driving for a while to reach things, while others want shopping centers and hospitals to be within walking distance.
You must determine your needs and try to meet them when picking a neighborhood.
Keep in mind that desirability of a location will have an impact on the price of a home and that the location is rated by the value of other homes in the area.
The quality of public services and the appearance of the neighborhood also have an impact on the cost.
Price also is affected by things like safety, cleanliness and the quality of life. Convenience and proximity to the city also will help determine the price.
While few potential homeowners actually carry crystal balls, it’s important to try and determine what the neighborhood will look like in the future when selecting a location.
After all, an attractive and growing neighborhood will increase the value of a home.
The right neighborhood truly helps make a house a home.
And that’s why it’s important to choose the right location when shopping for a home.
Answers on Home Affordability
How much house can you afford to buy?
Although financing your dream home may be costly, you might be able to afford more than you think.
Buying a home usually involves both a cash down payment and a mortgage for the balance of the purchase (if you’re not paying cash.)
Unless you know in advance the amount of down payment and the mortgage you’ll need, you really don’t know much about the house you can afford. Three elements are crucial to the purchase of a home — the down payment, closing costs and qualifying for a mortgage.
DOWN PAYMENT — The amount of down payment you’ll need depends on how the transaction is structured and the type of financing you obtain.
Typically, conventional lenders will require a 20 percent down payment, although in some cases loans with down payments of as little as 10 percent may be obtained.
If a down payment of less than 20 percent is made, the buyer likely will have to pay private mortgage insurance, which guarantees that the lender will be repaid in the case of buyer default.
Single family mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have more lenient down payment requirements than most conventional loans. IN most case, the FHA financing requires down payments of less than 5 percent.
Mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) require no down payment on loans up to $203,000.
CLOSING COSTS — Closing costs, paid at settlement, vary considerably. However, the most common costs include the following: discount points (one point equals one percent of the loan amount), title insurance, escrow fees, attorney fees, termite report, recording fees, appraisal fees, document preparation fees, notary fees and a large underwriting fee.
LOAN QUALIFICATION — Determining how large a mortgage for which you qualify is based mainly on the interest rate offered and your income.
The higher the interest rate, the higher the monthly payment.
And the higher the monthly payment, the more income you will need to qualify for the mortgage.
For conventional financing, lenders generally limit the monthly payment to 28 percent of your gross monthly income, although exceptions can be made depending on individual circumstances.
A point to remember, the monthly payment probably will be calculated to include taxes and insurance, along with principle and interest on the mortgage.
Besides checking on your income, the lender also will require a credit report, as well as a statement confirming your employment.
Be prepared to show financial statements proving that you have the money to cover your down payment and closing costs.
Buying a home does require some financial resources. But savvy buyers can make the maximum use of their money to get what they want.
When you know how much you can afford, you are in a better position to negotiate with sellers.
If you take the time to work through your budget, you will find out what you can pay without stretching yourself too thin or sacrificing your lifestyle.