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Know Your Financial Limits When Looking at Homes

Knowing what you can afford to spend on the homes you view is critical, but not as simple as it sounds. You need to have a solid understanding of things like your credit score, cash on hand, and pre-qualification for a mortgage. Understanding the types of mortgages available, and your ability to carry them long-term, is essential. The list prices of the homes you are looking at are only a small piece of their overall cost.

Know Your Closing Costs When Looking at Homes

In addition to the list prices of the homes you see, you will also need to pay for closing costs, PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), taxes and insurance. PMI is required if your down payment is less than 20% of the cost of the home. Avoiding PMI can save you a lot of money in the long run. That’s why you want to be aware of exactly what you have to spend when setting your limits in the first place.

Know the Costs of Ownership When Looking at Homes

Many first time homeowners are shocked at how different the world of ownership is from the world of renting. In addition to your monthly mortgage payment, homes require additional hundreds or thousands of dollars a years in yard maintenance, appliance upkeep, utilities, and time. Homes can cost you dearly in repair bills if gutters aren’t cleaned regularly, or if poor caulking leads to water damage. Savvy homeowners set aside yearly funds to address the “unexpected” costs of replacing water heaters or lawn mowers.

Know Your Real Estate Market When Looking at Homes

Having an awareness of both the local and national real estate markets can help you evaluate the best time for buying homes. While 2007 showed a significant drop in existing home sales to 6.11 million, the National Association of Realtors predicts that in 2008 sales will increase to 6.37 million. While this is good information to have, local markets can differ significantly. Be aware of whether the prices of homes in your local area are rising or falling. Know how long homes in your area tend to stay on the market. Being armed with both your personal financial information, and trends of the real estate market, will help you make an informed decision about the right time to buy a home.

About the Author:

By: J Harris

John Harris is a researcher and writer on real estate topics such as economics, credit improvement tips, home selling advice and home buying preparations. For more information please visit San Diego Real Estate Listings

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