Answers to Common Home Buying Questions in Huntsville, AL
Huntsville is Alabama’s fourth largest community and has a very large population of young math and science workers when compared to other places in the US. Many are employed in the missile defense and aerospace industries, which have a strong presence in the area. Huntsville has been listed among Money Magazine’s Best Places to Retire and among US News & World Report’s Top 10 Places to Grow Up. Clearly, it is a good place to live and an excellent one in which to purchase a home. If you are considering buying a home in Huntsville, here are some answers to common questions buyers have in the Huntsville area:
What Should I do Before Buying a Home?
It is important to note that prequalification is entirely different from pre-approval. Prequalifying means that your lender gives you an estimate of how much money you can borrow based on information that you provide. That figure could change if any of that information is incorrect or incomplete.
Do a Credit Check
The importance of this cannot be understated. Credit problems are one of the leading reasons that real estate transactions fail. Getting your credit score and correcting issues give you the best chance of securing a home.
It is essential to commit to serious research before making what is likely to be the largest investment of your lifetime. Factors to research include your preferred location and all the important considerations that go into choosing a particular neighborhood. You will want to keep taxes and school districts in mind along with the character of a neighborhood and its distance from your workplace. You should find out about the real estate market from a local real estate agent; ask how long the homes there usually stay on the market.
Build Your Savings
No matter how much you have saved up, you will probably need more money once you have purchased your home. Along with extra cash to cover closing costs and minor repairs, it is good to have extra cash on hand for unexpected expenses.
How Much Can I Afford?
You can use an online mortgage calculator to help you to figure out how much you can afford. However, you should not base the home’s affordability solely on the monthly payments you expect to make. Extra costs like maintenance, closing costs, down payments, and homeowners association fees should be factored in as well. Tie them in with your budget and make you can still live comfortably.
Why Should I Buy Instead of Rent?
The main advantage of renting is that you have no responsibilities for maintaining the property. On the other hand, ownership is an investment that builds into equity. Depending on the real estate market, you could potentially sell your home for a higher value when you decide to move out. If you were renting, you would not benefit from that situation. In addition, you also get benefits like tax breaks and the freedom to renovate and redecorate as you like.
How Do I Choose the Best Mortgage Loan?
Your mortgage is a claim on the home that secures your loan. There are numerous mortgage options. Questions that you should consider when making this decision include:
- Do you expect your finances to be stable for the next few years?
- Do you plan on living in the home for a long time?
- Are you comfortable changing the payment amount of your mortgage?
- Do you want it paid off by the time your children head off for college or when you retire?
From there you can decide which mortgage is right for you with your preferred mortgage lender.
What Should I Look for When Deciding on a Community?
You should select the community that best suits your daily life. For families, you might be more concerned about the quality of schools near your neighborhood or what features the subdivision has (like playgrounds, swimming pools, etc). For young professionals, you might want to find a home close to the workplace, so you don’t have a long commute. If you love being in the heart of entertainment, maybe you are looking for a place in downtown Huntsville.
How Do I Make the Right Offer on a Home?
The asking price for a home is not final. Most homes are priced with the expectation that the buyer will attempt to haggle. You can find out from your realtor how much similar homes in the same neighborhood sold for and use that to help determine how much you should pay. About five percent less than the asking price is a good place to start.
Buying a Home in Huntsville, AL
Due to the high median income in Huntsville, real estate is somewhat more expensive than in other Alabama communities. However, it is important to note that there are loans available that you can get with as little as 3.5 percent down. By consulting a real estate professional and with a little research, you too can own a home and live out the American dream.