Home Buying Tips in Shreveport-Bossier
Bossier is a fairly-sized city that attracts a lot of millennial. The city boasts of a median age of 33 which is far below the United States average.
Bossier has a population of 67,152 residents and the median home price for homes in this city is $156,100 – this is 5% higher than the state of Louisiana average.
Buying a home in Shreveport- Bossier is absolutely easy if you know exactly how to find and buy the property you want. I have compiled 10 home buying tips for homes Shreveport-Bossier to help you put the right foot forward:
10 Important Home Buying Tips in Shreveport-Bossier
Here are key things you should do:
Build an emergency fund and pay off all debt
Being a homeowner is expensive – much more expensive than being a tenant, even if your monthly mortgage payment will be cheaper or similar to your current amount.
When you’re a homeowner, you’re responsible for all the upkeep costs and maintenance of your home.
Those costs can add up really fast. So, while you’re thinking about buying a home, clear your debts and set up an emergency fund of three to six months of costs in place. With such an emergency fund you’ll have the cash to pay for unforeseen expenses.
Figure out how much home you can afford
Before you make up your mind about buying a beautiful house, go over your monthly budget to figure out how much house you can afford. While doing that, make sure you add some extra costs in your budget to cover up for other things.
So ensure that your housing costs will not be more than 25 of your monthly take-home pay and this include taxes, insurance, and HOA fees etc.
Since the cost of homeowner’s insurance and property tax rates aren’t exactly the same, check with your real estate agent and insurance firm for estimates to figure out how much home you can afford in Bossier.
Start saving for a down payment
If you’re yet to start saving for a down payment for your desired home, today is the perfect time to start. You will be required to make a down payment of at 20% or more when you’re ready to buy a home.
Once you have your down payment you won’t have to bother about paying for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – a payment plan that protects the mortgage company in the event that you can no longer make your payments and end up in a foreclosure.
PMI often costs 1% of the overall loan value and the amount is added to your monthly payment.
If you’re a first time home buyer and the 20% down payment is presently out of reach, there are several programs for first-time home buyers that offer sign-digit down payments. Avoid using any of such programs – they cost more down the road.
Save for closing costs
Aside from your down payments, you will be required to pay for closing costs. If you’re looking to buy your first home, you may not be aware of the costs to close on a house. Closing costs are usually about 3 -4% of the entire buying cost of a home.
Your lender will give you a precise amount of money so you know precisely what to bring on closing day. These fees will cover crucial in the home-buying process. These include:
- Home inspection
- Credit report
- Homeowner’s insurance
So, it is crucial to save for your down payments and closing costs as soon as possible. You should do so with the same level of seriousness as saving to get out of a difficult debt and build an emergency fund.
If possible, you should put your retirement savings on hold for a while and focus on saving for a home.
Get preapproved for a loan
As soon as you have enough cash saved to cover for your 20% down payment and the closing costs, then you’re set to talk to a mortgage lender to help you out with the remaining 80%.
So just before you start house hunting, make sure you’re pre-qualified for a loan and make sure you get a pre-approval letter. Sellers and real estate agents will see you as a serious buyer when you have a pre-approval letter. It also gives you an edge in today’s competitive market.
To get a preapproval letter, your lender will validate your financial information which include your taxes and proof of income etc. and then put your loan forward for preliminary underwriting. Once you have a preapproval letter, hunting for a home that fits into your budget is easier.
Search for a home in your price range
Many home buyers either found the home they want online or through the help of a real estate agent. You should do both to get your dream home faster.
Once you find homes you like online don’t hesitate to send them to your real estate agent so they have a crystal clear idea of the type of homes you want.
In addition, they can use a multiple listing service (MLS) to find homes that match your criteria in your preferred areas. Even more, your real estate agent may be able to find great deals on houses even before they are listed or as soon as they are listed.
Look beyond the home for best fit
Once you find a home that ticks all the boxes of what you want in a home, don’t conclude too fast – look beyond the home. Consider other factors like nearness to a highly rated school district, public transportation, crime rates, local cultures, utilities and services providers etc.
Other important things to look out for are location of hospitals and vet clinics if you have a pet, location of banks, where to find your favorite foods, traffic condition, noise levels, if people are safe being outdoor at night and several other things that matter to you.
Attend open houses
As soon as you’ve streamlined your search to specific neighborhoods, start attending open houses. Visit as many homes for sale as possible – even if they don’t match your precise criteria.
This is one easy way to learn more about the neighborhood and when you finally find a home that ticks the boxes of what you want, it will be easier for you to figure out how your home compare to other homes in the neighborhood.
Make a good offer (within your budget)
Assuming you found a home that ticks all the boxes in your criteria and you can afford it. Now it’s time to make an offer since you’re already pre-approved for a loan.
Knowing exactly how much to offer could be tricky. So, this is the point where the experience and expertise of your real estate agent is absolutely crucial.
You should let your agent know that you want your offer to be competitive without overpricing the property or exceeding your budget. Also, be cautious about making a spontaneous offer that is higher than your budget just because you want to outsmart the competition.
Get ready for closing
As soon as a seller accepts your offer, the closing process can start. Keep in mind that on the average, closing process can take 43 days – this means you have a whole lot of time to handle closing items.
Your real estate agent can guide you through the entire remaining process from home inspection to walkthrough. In addition, they’ll keep you in the loop about potential roadblocks as event unfolds.
While you’re getting set for closing, make sure you read all required paperwork and ask your agent to shed more light on anything you don’t understand.
Make sure you understand every term and information in the official contract before signing across the dotted lines. Once your signature is on the document, you’ll be responsible for everything you sign.