Looking to purchase a home? The Tejas Gosai Team will provide you with all the tools you need to make an educated decision and get the most value for your money. We offer a number of innovative programs to make sure your home buying experience is as rewarding as possible. In addition, our expert agents will work with you every step of the way to help you find your dream home.
When you wish upon a dream home, is it filled with everything you’ve loved in a shelter magazine or TV show? When wishing gives way to reality and it’s time to find a home, you’ll want to know what’s essential for you and your lifestyle. That inventory of priorities will lay the foundation for your home search. Here are some things to help you get real.
To ground yourself in reality, you need to figure out how much home you can afford. The mortgage you can afford depends on many factors, among them your annual income, the size of your down payment and your monthly debt. You can use any free online calculator which can do the math for you.
There are many kinds of homes, but the majority fit into these broad categories: Single-family detached, townhouse, condominium or co-op. And each has upsides and downsides, especially when it comes to privacy and independence. In a single-family home, you’ll share no walls with anyone and your home has its own chunk of land. Along with that independence comes all the responsibility for care and repairs. If you choose a townhouse or townhome, you’re also the sole owner but you’ll share common walls, meaning a bit less privacy.
Condos come in many shapes but follow two basic principles: Each owner owns the interior of his or her unit and has a stake in the entire building, and owners pay fees to fund a homeowners association to handle maintaining the common areas and building. Co-ops owners become shareholders in the corporation that owns the entire building, and owners vote on all major decisions, assess dues and pays the bills.
Where you live is as important as what you live in — maybe more. You’re not just buying a home, you’re becoming part of a larger community. What happens outside your door has in impact on how you live your life as well as your home’s future value. So how do you decide which neighborhood is right for you? There’s affordability, of course, but it’s really about the lifestyle you want.
In the Neighborhood section of ’s for-sale home listings you’ll find a Walk Score that measures how walkable the address is to nearby amenities like stores, and a Transit Score which rates how well a location is served by public transportation.
Do a gut check by spending time in a neighborhood. What’s it like on Sunday morning and Friday night? Test the commute, shop for a few groceries, talk to folks in a coffee shop, read the neighborhood blogs. See if it feels like this is your next neighborhood.
If you have (or plan to have) children, investigate area schools before you narrow down a location. You can find information online for nearby elementary, middle and high schools. Some important items to look at include school test scores, extracurricular activities, student population stats, and community reviews and ratings. Even if you don’t have children, good schools can be a sign of a strong community and may help when you want to sell your home.
Do you need a cozy nest or a sprawling compound? You’ll have to balance cost — every bedroom and bathroom adds to the price of a house — with convenience. For-sale home listings include the square-foot cost as a point of comparison between homes.
Knowing what’s negotiable in your family is also key:
• Big yard or just enough green to grow some tomatoes
• Garage, carport or street parking
• Your own pool or proximity to a community center
• A view of the ocean or an urban village
• Great room or cozy nooks and crannies
• In-law suite or a basement rec room
If a three-car garage or big yard are must-haves, think about what you could trade off. Maybe young children could share a room, or you can live without a breakfast nook. Knowing what you need vs. what you want will help your real estate agent find a home that fits.
You may find a place that has most of what you need and just needs a little work to make it exactly what you want. You may be willing to sacrifice the time and money to make it happen. But if the idea of plaster dust coating every surface is a recurring nightmare, new construction might be a better fit. The challenge is to think deeply about which type of homeowner you are before your search for a new home
This is a free-standing, unattached dwelling that usually rests on a lot larger than the home itself, which we’ll call a yard. Single-family is distinguished from a multi-family residential dwelling where several units are contained in one structure.
Pros: You own both the structure and the land. You can modify both to suit your own tastes (unless you buy into a planned community with its own restrictions). If you want to knock out a wall and expand, no one can say “no,” so long as you obey zoning regulations. You’re the king or queen of your own castle.
Cons: Everything’s on you – mowing the grass, fixing the foundation, spraying for termites. Unless you live in a development with an active homeowners association (HOA), there’s no governing body or board to help you make decisions or share the tab.
Also called townhomes, these homes are connected by shared walls and often have common driveways. Townhomes once were considered small, cookie-cutter dwellings. These days, they can be lavish, large and individual, with open floor plans and elevators.
Pros: You’re part of a community with neighbors who are, literally, spitting distance away so it works if you like gossiping over the fence. Also, many communities offer amenities like gyms, pools, golf courses and spas as part of common charges or available for an annual fee.
Cons: Townhomes are attached or clustered together so that you sometimes can hear your neighbors and they can hear your. Landscaping and yard maintenance – if you have a yard – is often the individual’s responsibility, although common areas are usually cared for by the community. Also, because your townhome is part of a greater whole, you may be assessed to fund repairs of parking areas, exterior painting and other maintenance tasks for common areas.
Condos are usually similar to apartments but you own it outright. Like a single-family dwelling, and unlike a co-op, you own a deed to your condo. But unlike a single-family home, you are attached to neighbors typically by common walls, floors and ceilings. You also share common areas like a lobby, party room and other amenities.
Pros: You own your place and do what you’d like, within the confines of your condo association rules. There’s no yard to mow or exteriors to paint. Condos are usually more affordable than single-family detached homes and have offer amenities.
Cons: You pay monthly homeowner’s association (HOA) fees to fund maintenance, common-area repairs, insurance and a contingency fund. You have association rules to follow, which can control everything from how you pitch your trash to what furniture you’re allowed to place on your balcony. And like any unit that shares walls, privacy may be an issue.
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The first question used to be answered with scribbled calculations done while hunched over a dining room table. Things are much easier now. You can simply plug some numbers into an affordability calculator and voila! You’ll have your answer. Of course, you’ll need to know what numbers to enter. You’ll start with your gross annual income.Then plug in any debt you currently owe, including car payments, student loan payments, existing mortgage payments that you will continue to owe, child support, alimony and minimum monthly payments on credit cards. You don’t need to worry about things like utilities and food – the calculator already assumes you’re going to need to eat and use lights and even buy clothes and entertainment. Finally, enter how much you’ve saved toward a down payment. The affordability calculator will tell you what you can afford to spend.
What you’re really looking at (and what lenders are going to be very interested in seeing) is your DTI or Debt to Income ratio. If you want to see how that figure shakes out for you, try the DTI calculator. Once you’re done you’ll know exactly what percentage of your income goes to paying off existing debt. You can also check out the mortgage calculator to get an estimate of your monthly mortgage payment if you buy a home at that price. Then you can fiddle around with different interest rates and see what a 15-year loan would look like compared with a 30-year loan, or what spending a little less would look like in your monthly budget. The interest rate you’ll pay for your mortgage can have a big impact on your affordability. You can get real-time rate quotes from multiple lenders on by entering details such as your income, home purchase price, and credit score, to see exactly what interest rate you will qualify for. Having real numbers to look at will help make taking the leap a whole lot easier.
So now you know what you can afford, the next question is what will that buy in your market? The same payment that would buy you a mansion in Moline won’t get you a shack in San Francisco. But once again, you’re armed with an impressive array of research to help you. For instance, instead of driving around looking at asking prices or relying on the advice of friends and family who might have bought a house in a vastly different market, you can simply look up the local market reports for the area you are interested in. The other thing you’ll want to consider is what kind of market are you buying into. Is it a buyers market, a sellers market or neutral? Rising values and dropping inventory puts sellers in the driver’s seat. Stagnant or even lowering prices with increased inventory puts buyers in charge.
If it’s a sellers market, prepare yourself for a challenge. You may make several offers to buy a home before one is finally accepted. You may find yourself having to offer above asking price just to be considered. Don’t let a few disappointments pressure you into jumping into a home that doesn’t really fit your needs. At the same time, you aren’t going to have time to sleep on it if you find a home you love in a hot seller’s market. But with all your savvy market research and knowledge, that won’t be a problem.
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Contact us: 484-352-2811