Homeownership, despite all of the doom and gloom felt across the country, is still a very smart financial move for most individuals. The Bexar County real estate market, of course, has received poor evaluation over the last year because of the subprime mortgages and the record number of foreclosures which, unfortunately, has left many would-be homebuyers feeling more than a bit nervous to purchase their first home.
However, there are many reasons to purchase a home in Bexar County now, including low interest rates, dropping home prices and the government’s first-time homebuyer tax credit. If you are ready to take the plunge into homeownership, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for your homeownership adventure:
- Talk to a lender first to learn about your eligibility for a home loan and to learn about how much home you can afford. A good rule of thumb is to pay no more than 25 percent of your gross, monthly income on a mortgage payment.
- Check your finances to make sure that you have enough money saved for your down payment. Don’t forget all of the related fees, including closing costs, mortgage insurance and homeowners insurance.
- Order a copy of your credit report from all, three credit agencies and clean up any past debts. Remember: your ability to obtain a competitive interest rate in today’s market relies heavily on your credit.
- Get preapproved for a home loan through a lender. Do your homework beforehand and choose a lender that is able to provide you with a home loan that best meets your financial needs.
- Decide what you must have and what you would like to have in a Bexar County home. Make sure to distinguish between the two so that your expectations are not unrealistic, but that you also choose a home that meets your family’s needs.
- Research neighborhoods to determine which ones are best for you and your family. Your decision regarding a neighborhood may depend on the local schools, nearby shopping and dining or commute times to and from your job.
- Find a qualified, experienced real estate agent who can help and guide you through the home buying process. Make sure the agent you choose has a good deal of experience in the neighborhoods in which you are interested, and make sure you have a good rapport with the agent, as you will be working with him or her throughout the entire process.