Thursday, November 5, 2009

Buyers, Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

With the incentives offered by our government, in San Antonio we've seen a lot of younger, first time buyers out looking for a home to purchase.  Some have found their dream home and are enjoying their new lives as homeowners.  Others have decided they were just not ready to make such a big decision, even with the incentive dangled in front of them.  So, how do you know if you are ready for home ownership or not?  One way is to prepare!  Here are 10 guidlines to follow before jumping into action:

  1. Decide what you can afford.  Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between 2 and 3 times your gross income.
  2. Develop your home wish list.  Then, prioritize the features on your list.
  3. Select where you want to live.  Decide on three or four neighborhoods you'd like to live in, taking into account the distance from work, recreational facilities, schools, etc.
  4. Start saving.  Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment and closing costs?  Closing costs average between 2 and 7 percent of the home's price.
  5. Get your credit in order.  Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate, and to correct any errors immediately.  A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late or slow payments.
  6. Determine your mortgage qualifications.  Talk to a lender to find out how much mortgage you can qualify for, and what type of mortgage is best for your particular situation.
  7. Get pre-approved.  Organize the documents the lender will need for the pre-approval.  Such things as W-2's, copies of pay stubs, account numbers, and bank statements are usually required.
  8. Look for other sources of help with the down payment.  If you are short of cash for the closing costs, check to see if you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance program.  Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you've saved to buy your first home without paying a penalty for early withdrawl.  Also, ask family members for assistance to get you going.
  9. Calculate the costs of homeownership.  This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and HOA feew, if applicable.
  10. Contact a Realtor.  An experienced Realtor can help make your purchase a smooth process from start to finish.
Coming Soon in San Antonio....
This Friday, November 6 at 6:00 p.m. - 11 p.m.
And Saturday, November 7 from noon - 11 p.m.
And Sunday, November 8 from noon - 6 p.m.

The St. George Maronite Catholic Community will host a Lebanese Festival to share the beautiful heritage of the Lebanese tradition with San Antonio and surrounding communities at-large. This promises to be a fun-filled family cultural celebration showcasing the Lebanese of San Antonio and the rich heritage that has been preserved since the Lebanese first immigrated in the 1880’s. Visitors will enjoy authentic Lebanese food, indoor stage performances by the Lebanese dance troupe, learn how to Dabke (the traditional folk dance of Lebanon), enjoy Friday and Saturday evening performances featuring a live band and so much more! New this year…. Relax in our ‘Oasis section’ featuring Lebanese hors d’ oeuvres and imported beer and wine!

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