The Beginner’s Guide to Buying a House is designed to describe all major aspects of buying a house, from getting pre-qualified and deciding on the best mortgage to what you should do after you’ve officially bought your house.
The process of buying a house is complex and ever-changing, but you can easily understand the basics. Even a small amount of real estate knowledge can make a big difference. Free real estate education is also widely available on my website.
Combine this information with a rock star real estate agent and you are well on your way to becoming a home owner.
A first time home buyer is someone who has never owned a house or hasn’t owned a house in the past three years.
You are not considered a first time home owner if your spouse currently owns a house or you inherited a house. But, there are some exceptions to the rule.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), exceptions to the first time home buyer rule are:
1. a single parent or displaced homemaker who has only owned a house while married to their former spouse. This also applies to buyers who are legally separated.
There are six states that do not recognize legal separations:
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Texas. However, each of those states will provide options that are similar to legal separations. Be sure to consult with a divorce attorney in your state.
2. someone who has only owned a home not affixed to a permanent foundation. Manufactured, mobile, trailers and tiny homes that have wheels or can be moved from one place to another are not considered houses.
3. someone who has only owned a home that is not in compliance with building codes and will cost more to fix the problems than building a new house.
The program you qualify for will depend on where you want to buy the house. Each state will have its own programs to help with the costs of buying your first house. Individual cities or counties (parishes in Louisiana) will have programs available too.
You can use the assistance to pay for closing costs and/or your down payment.
Not all of the programs are created equal. This assistance can be in a variety of ways.
Grants: don’t have to be paid back if you live in the house a set amount of years. It could be 3 or more years depending on the grant. If you sell or move before that time, you will either have to pay a portion of the money back or be subject to tax recapture.
Loans: have to be paid back. There are many different ways the loan can be structured. It can be deferred loan paid back when you sell or second mortgage you would make monthly payments on. The loan can be 0% or an interest rate determined by the program.
Combos: these are loans that turn into grants after a set amount of years. Typically, you will have monthly payments that will go away some time in the future if you meet the requirements.
In order to use these programs, there are minimum buyer qualifications that must be met like credit score, debt to income ratio, income level, and the price of the house. Some programs also have property requirements like the area where the house is located, the condition, whether it’s a multi family (duplex, triplex, quadplex) or a manufactured house.
In Houston, TX; we have 3 programs available throughout the state: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC), and Southeast Texas Housing (SETH).
Other down payment assistance programs in Houston: Baytown, Pasadena, Houston, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, and Harris County.
Be sure to contact a knowledge realtor in your area who has experience in these programs to ask about what options are available to you.
Freddie Mac’s Home One mortgage is the only loan specifically for first time home buyers. It is a conventional loan that requires 3% down. At least borrower on the mortgage has to be a first time home buyer. There are no income limits and they don’t allow multifamily houses.
Buying a house is a big step and responsibility for most people. Even after talking to family and friends, keeping up with the latest real estate news, and discussing your possibilities with a realtor; you might still question whether buying a house is the right step for you.
Having reservations about something you’re unfamiliar with is normal. Hopefully, by the time you finish reading these 7 benefits to owning a home, you’ll know if you should move forward or wait a little bit longer to buy.
This has to be the most commonly stated benefit; and for good reason. Buying a house is a great accomplishment. It is the ultimate tier of ownership. Everybody likes their own stuff; whether it’s your own car or your own pair of shoes. You want something that is 100% yours.
You can add unique touches that fit the personalities of you and your family members. No more blah color schemes or asking the landlord for permission to renovate. Go ahead and paint that accent wall bright red. It’s yours!!
With renting, you’re always at the mercy of your landlord. If he sells the house, there’s a good chance you will have to move after your lease is up. If he raises the rent, you might have to leave because of the added expense.
Those are just small examples. Some renters have the misfortune of having a slumlord. They live in unsafe living conditions or the landlord takes forever to fix problems, but still want the rent promptly on the due date.
In Harris County, you can’t withhold rent if you have a bad landlord. The only options are to do the repairs yourself, wait for the landlord to fix the repair, or move.
Houses typically go up in value. There are exceptions to the rule like the 2008 housing crash or deteriorating areas, but for the most part your house will be worth more in the future than what you paid for it.
Houses in Houston appreciated 1.9% compared to how much they were worth at the beginning of 2020. Chicago had the biggest jump with a 6.1% increase.
With appreciation comes, equity. Equity is the difference between how much you owe on the mortgage and how much your house is worth.
In 2021, homeowners experienced crazy equity boosts. According to CoreLogic, equity has increased 19.6% nationally since January 2020. The housing market was on fire.
The equity is essentially a big ol’ piggybank. It’s full of money you can borrow against to pay for things like college, vacations, renovations, or medical procedures. The list is endless.
The majority of millionaires use real estate to increase their net worth. You have a choice to make: either you’re going to increase your net worth or you landlord’s net worth.
The interest you pay on your mortgage can be deducted on your income taxes. For single or married couples who file jointly, the limit is $750,000. Married couples who file separately can deduct $375,000 each.
The biggest tax benefit is that when you sell you aren’t taxed on your profit. Married couples can exclude up to $500,000. For single people, it’s $250,000.
Buying a house isn’t hard and you don’t have to the perfect buyer. If you educate yourself on the minimum requirements to getting pre-approved for a mortgage and are familiar about the home buying process, you will be light years ahead of the average buyer.
The Beginner’s Guide to Buying a House covers every step of the way from beginning to end such as earnest money deposits, inspections, and underwriting.
You’ll be able to plan ahead and won’t be left in the dark wondering what the next move is. If an issue pops up, you’ll quickly be able to pivot because you will already know about the possibility of a problem.
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In each chapter, I’ll give you all of the information you need to make critical decisions about who to hire and things that seem like a big deal, but aren’t.
I’ll cover 3 key aspects of the buying process:
The Methods: The strategies and processes you’ll use to achieve your goal of owning a house. And in this Guide, I’ll share exactly the same advice I give to the buyers who have hired me.
The Lingo: the terminology used by real estate professionals so you can understand and communicate intelligently.
The Roles: the people you will hire to be a part of your process and those that are involved that you didn’t pick.
I’ve organized this Guide in a logical progression according to the home buying process. Although you can jump around, learning in whatever order you want, I recommend you read through the chapters in order.
Ready to start?
Chapter 1 will be published soon