You can enjoy peace of mind working with The Hardie Group Real Estate Company, the industry leader in experience and service. Here are some tips & services to help you with the process of buying a home.
How to Buy a Home
It may matter more through whom you buy your home than the home you finally select.
The Hardie Group will help you
- Determine how much you want to spend.
- Establish a criteria for selecting homes.
- Obtain information about houses and neighborhoods to help you make decisions.
- Prepare for mortgage qualification.
- Close on the house of your dreams.
- How much house can you afford?
Most people have a general idea how much they feel comfortable spending. It's equally important how much the lender calculates you can afford.
- Evaluate your financial situation as the lenders do. Typically, your total monthly housing costs (PITI) should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income. Or, housing costs plus any outstanding monthly long-term debt should not exceed 36 percent of gross monthly income.
- Determine how much your financial institution is willing to lend you.
- How much can you afford in monthly payments. Lenders factor in sales price and downpayment, but place more importance on how much you can handle monthly.
- Will you need to find your own financing? Ask your Hardie Group sales associate for recommendations.
What type of house do you want?
Next you'll want to determine your needs, tastes and preferences for your new home.
Choosing a neighborhood
Bricks and boards may determine the cost of a home, but a neighborhood determines it's value.
Picking the right home
Your new house has to feel right… but emotions aside, it has to work right, too.
Outside the home
- Do trees and shrubs appear healthy? Are large trees at least 30 feet from the house?
- Is the lot slopped for proper drainage? Are there low spots near the house?
- Do electrical outlets have ground fault current interrupters to prevent shock?
- Is the outdoor lighting adequate?
- Are there outdoor faucets or sprinkler systems?
- Are sidewalks and driveways in good condition? Will water drain off them?
- Is the house's exterior surface in good repair? Are there cracks where materials meet at two walls or at windows and walls?
- Do windows, doors and chimneys sit plumb and square?
- Is the roof free from sags and dips? Are shingles in good condition?
- Are gutters in good shape, with tight seams and do downspouts point away form the house?
- Do foundation walls have cracks larger than ¼-inch wide?
The Floor Plan
- Is the house divided into three distinct zones for working, living and sleeping?
- Does traffic through the kitchen flow outside the work area?
- Are the stove, sink and refrigerator just steps apart in an efficient triangular configuration?
- Do open appliance doors block doorways, cabinets or each other?
- Do bedrooms have two uninterrupted wall surfaces for easy furniture arrangement?
- Are baths accessible without having to cross a bedroom or other living space?
- Does the main entry lead guests directly to the living room or make them figure out which way to go?
Basement to attic
- Do basement walls have large cracks that indicate a shifting foundation? Mildew stains that indicate dampness/flooding? Is an unheated basement ceiling insulated?
- Are exposed beams and joists in good condition?
- Is the attic well insulated? Is there any evidence of water damage from a leaky roof?
- Are floors springy or are they even and sturdy?
- Are the walls (particularly at door frames and windows) free from large cracks?
- Do all doors and windows work smoothly?
- Are bathroom fixtures in good working condition? Does the faucet's water flow remain steady when the toilets are flushed? Does the water drain well?
- Are there enough well placed electrical outlets in the rooms? Does the service to the house match it's current electrical needs?
- Is the capacity and recovery time of the water heater adequate for your family? Does the water heater show signs of rust?
- Do the kitchen appliances appear to be in good condition? Do they come with the sale? Will your appliances fit in the present spaces if need be?
- Do the furnace and/or air conditioning unit(s) appear well-serviced? Is the blower quiet?
Making your purchase
When you find the perfect house, your sales associate will take you through a step-by step process to make the purchase. Now it's your turn to make some important decisions.
- Decide how much you should offer .
- Know what happens to your earnest money.
- Require the seller to do a title search to prove the title is clear.
- Decide what type of deed you want.
- Decide what conditions you want to place on buying the house.
- Spell out what you're buying in the contract.
- Determine what special provisions should be included.
- Decide who is your settlement agent, the closing date and the possession date.
Buyers have the right to have the home inspected as part of the purchase agreement.
Once you learn the seller has accepted your offer, you have one key job: line up financing.
Ask your Hardie Group sales associate to help you to prepare. You may want to take him or her to your meetings with the lender.
What happens at closing
- Discuss and resolve any issues or problems before closing.
- Sign the note promising to repay the mortgage, with the house as security.
- Sign the other papers fulfilling governmental regulations and transaction information.
- Look carefully over the numbers in the closing or settlement statement… the last document to appear… before signing.