Choosing The Right Home
current mortgage rates are near all-time lows. 30 year mortgage rates are averaging 3.75 percent but you can find lenders quoting 30 year rates as low as 3.375 percent if you're willing to pay points up front.
There are several different types of homes one can choose from, single family, townhome, condo, fixer upper, etc. Depending on what stage of life you're in will probably be the biggest deciding factor on what type of home to choose. Each type of home has a different initial cost to buy, ongoing costs to maintain, and comes with it's pros and cons.
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Single family-homes are one unit structures that have open space on all four sides and are not attached to any other home. Single family homes come in many different styles and sizes, giving you many options to choose from when you're searching for the home that suits you best. Since these homes usually are more expensive than other options types of homes and require more maintenance inside and outside.
Condominiums have separate living spaces that may be attached or detached to one another. Newer condos usually have special features like a common area, fitness center possibly a recreation area. Condo buildings belong
to an association made up of all of its owners of the individual condo units.
An association is in charge of determining rules and regulations of the building as well as the monthly assessment fees that are used to maintain the common areas. Since the association handles the up keep of the building, owning a condo has very low physical maintenance for the owners but you do pay a monthly fee to pay for the convenience. On top of the monthly fee you also have to pay your mortgage and any taxes property taxes assessed to your condo.
Townhomes are usually attached to each other, are vertical in design and sometimes have an attached garage with one or more parking spaces. Townhomes are also typically two stories and the living space usually downstairs and the bedrooms are upstairs. Townhomes can be part of a homeowners association like a condo. You can pay a monthly maintenance fee and have the benefit of not having to deal with exterior maintenance by yourself.
Fixer-uppers can be any type of home that is in need of either extensive repairs or updating. The price point to purchase a fixer-upper is usually much less than a comparable home that doesn't need repairs or updating. If you're willing to put in "sweat equity" you can put your personal touch on the home and in the process create equity. Buyers of a fixer-upper need to be prepared for additional costs due to the repairs or updating the home needs. Be sure to get the home professionally inspected and figure out what the costs will be to repair or update the home.
Getting a Pre-Qualifying Letter
Whatever type of home you decide on the next step is to figure out how much home you can afford. A mortgage broker can help you through this process using industry standard practices. Once you figure out how much home you can afford, and how much home your comfortable with paying for each month, ask the mortgage broker for a pre-qualifying letter. This letter will show real estate agents and sellers that you a series buyer that is ready to purchase a home.
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