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Things You Should Know About Buying Your First Home in Lake Travis

by Rebecca Shahan

A down payment may not be the toughest hurdle when buying your first home.

If you're thinking about trading your landlord for a mortgage, here are four things you should think about to help you decide if you're ready to buy a home.

Your Down Payment May Not Be the Biggest Hurdle

Let's admit one thing: buying a home is a huge financial commitment.

A healthy credit history is also important. Most home buyers can qualify for a mortgage with a score as low as 620. But the more competitive rates are offered to those with a score of 700 or above.

Many young adults are carrying student loan debt, making their debt-to-income (DTI) ratio more of a challenge to balance. Mortgage companies want borrowers to have a certain level of cash flow each month, and that means taking into account how much you’re paying out to other lenders. Ideally, a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio — how much you pay toward debt each month divided by your gross monthly income — should fall below 36%. If yours doesn’t, think about how you can get that debt needle moving in the right direction.

Be Emotionally Ready for Financial Surprises

Owning a home comes with unexpected surprises. When you rent, surprises don't require as much emotional investment. If the rent goes up, you can move. When an appliance goes out, you can call your landlord. But when you own a home, if the toilet breaks, it's your job to arrange to fix it. When property taxes unexpectedly rise, it’s on you to appeal or pay up.

Fixing problems in your home isn't just about the money. It's also important to have the mental and emotional capability of dealing with them responsibly when they arise. You could be doing fine for months, then several issues could arise all at once. Stress management and problem solving skills are important when owning a home.

A Mortgage Can Be Cheaper Than Rent

In some cases, a mortgage can be cheaper than rent. But either way, it's still financially advantageous to own your own home and build equity.

Your Lifestyle May Call for Buying Instead of Renting

Many people realize that renting a home can only take them so far, especially when starting a family. Growing families need extra rooms, a yard, and space for your pets. More and more rentals are limiting pets, or just not allowing them at all. That's not an issue if you own your own home.

Then there are the renovations. If you’re itching to test out your DIY skills and personalize your space, you’re probably ready to own. Landlords who allow property renovations — especially DIY projects — are few and far between.

Buying a first home is a big change — both from a financial and an emotional perspective. Still, for many, home ownership can be one of the most rewarding life choices one can make.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.

5 Tips For First Time Home Buyers

by Rebecca Shahan

5 tips for first time home buyersIf you're ready to buy your first home, no doubt you've realized already there's a lot of things you need to think about. It can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be.  Millions of people have bought homes before, and we know what makes the process go more smoothly. All it takes is planning and patience.

There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your home buying experience goes more smoothly. Here's a few things to think about before you decide to buy.

How Much Home Can You Afford?

Like any purchase, you need to know how much you can afford. It can be disappointing to find out you can't afford the home you fall in love with. The best thing to do is to determine the maximum amount you can afford.  An online mortgage calculator is a great way to start. You can find out your maximum price limit based on a 30 year mortgage.

You can also pin down a more exact amount of what you can afford is to talk to a loan officer at your bank. A loan officer will have a better idea of what the bank will loan you and what your down payment will need to be.

Knowing how much you can afford in advance, along with being pre-approved for a loan, will give you an advantage over buyers who haven't taken this step.  And it will save you time, since you know exactly what you can afford before you start your home search.

What Are The Must Haves In a Home?

Knowing what you want in a home, and what you don't want, is important. Sit down and think about all the things that you must have in a home, and the things that will make life miserable. Write it all down and use it in your home search. Show it to your agent as well so they know what to look for. You can adjust your list as you look at homes and see first hand what's available.

Use an Experienced Local Real Estate Agent

The right agent who knows the area inside and out makes a huge difference. Research the real estate agents in the are you're moving to.  If you have friends or family who've bought a home there recently, ask them for a referral. If not, read reviews online.

A good agent will know the area you're moving to inside and out, and will pay attention to your needs. In many cases, a great agent will have repeat clients over the years. They will also be able to connect you to loan officer and real estate attorneys, along with other needed professionals.

Compare Prices

You should look at homes in the area that are comparable to get an idea of what they're selling for.

You can easily compare homes in the area you plan to move to using tools such as our Home Search feature.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent About Closing Costs

Closing costs can vary, so make sure you determine the expected costs in advance to avoid any nasty financial issues during closing. Closing costs can include the costs of hiring an attorney to look over the  seller agreement, along with a home appraiser to inspect the home before the sale. A good real estate agent will be happy to help you determine closing costs.

Being a first time home buyer may seem daunting, but it's something you can accomplish successfully with the right planning and information.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

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