Tips for Getting Started

1. How do you know if you are ready to buy a home?
    Ask yourself some questions:
  • Do I have a steady source of income?
  • Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
  • Do I have a good record of paying my bills?         
  • Do I have few or no outstanding long-term debts like car payments? 
  • Do I have money saved for a down payment?
  • Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage plus additional costs every month?
If your answer to these questions is "yes", you are probably ready to buy your own home.
2. How do I begin the process of buying a home?
    Start by thinking about your situation
  • Why do you want to buy a home?
  • How much can you afford in a monthly mortgage payment?
  • How much space do you need?
  • What areas of the town do you like?
      After you answer these questions
  • Make a "To Do" list and start doing casual research.
  • Talk to friends and family, drive through neighborhoods
  • Search for new listings at
3. How does purchasing a home compare with renting?
    If you rent you will be generally free of most maintenance responsibilities.
    By renting however, you lose the chance to build equity; no tax benefits; and you are not protected
    against rent increases. 
    You also may not be free to decorate or remodel without permission from the landlord.
    Owning a home has many benefits.
    When you make a mortgage payment you are building equity.  
    Owning a home also qualifies you for tax breaks. 
    You gain the freedom, stability, and security of owning your own home
    You can decorate it or modify it any way that you like.
4. How does the lender decide the maximum loan amount that you can afford?
The lender considers your debt-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your gross (pre-tax) income to housing and non-housing expenses. Non-housing expenses include such long-term debts as car or student loan payments, alimony, or child support. When determining your maximum loan amount, the lender also considers cash available for down payment, closing costs and credit history.
5. How do I select the right real estate agent?
  • Start by asking family and friends if they can recommend an agent.
  • Compile a list of several agents and talk to each before choosing one.
  • Look for an agent who listens well and understands your needs, and whose judgment you trust.
  • The ideal agent knows the local area well and has resources and contacts to help you in your search.
  • Choose an agent who makes you feel comfortable and can provide all the knowledge and services you need.
6. How can I determine my housing needs before I begin the search?
    Your home should fit the way you live: spaces and features that appeal to the whole family.
    Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities:
  • Location and size (do you want a detached home,townhome or condo) 
  • Should the house be close to local schools, your job, and/or public transportation?
  • How large should the house be? (how many rooms, baths, garage, basement)
  • What type of lot do you prefer? (a large or small yard)
  • What kinds of amenities are you looking for? (are you willing to do some work or are you looking for a move in / ready property)
Establish a set of “minimum requirements” and a 'wish list." “Minimum requirements” are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a "wish list" covers things that you'd like to have but aren't essential.
7. What should I look for when walking through a home?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement list and wish list, consider some of the following:
  • Is there enough room for both your present and future needs?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space? (Bring a tape measure to better answer these questions.) 
  • Imagine the house in good weather and bad and also in each season. Will you be happy with it all year round?