Thinking of buying a home or property in Middle Tennessee but have some pressing questions first? We've got answers! Take a look at some of the most frequent questions we hear from homebuyers in Middle Tennessee... and get the answers you've been looking for.
Not seeing your questions here or ready to get started buying? Contact me today!
Where should I start the process?
Your finances are a good place to start! Tracking your spending, setting a budget, and making regular deposits into a savings account are all great ways to start figuring out how much you might be able to afford to pay for a new home.
Once you get an idea of your budget, you'll probably want to start talking to lenders—you may want to ask for some recommendations—to get an even better idea of how much you'll be able to afford.
Should I get preapproved?
Absolutely! Getting preapproved sounds like it might be an involved process, but it's actually pretty simple and straightforward, and doesn't obligate you to work with any one lender. Getting preapproved is usually as easy as sending a lender a couple of financial documents so they can learn more about your income, assets, and credit. Once they've reviewed this information, they'll let you know exactly how much their bank is willing to lend you—and what that cost might look like per month.
As you might imagine, getting preapproved is pretty useful for determining that you can be approved for a loan, how much you can be approved for, and what that might cost you per month.
Should I use a real estate agent?
Again, yes! The benefits of working with a real estate agent are pretty numerous—from getting lender recommendations to signing the closing paperwork. Along the way, your agent can help you with things like: finding the perfect location and neighborhood; determining if a home is overpriced; making a competitive offer; negotiating with the seller to ensure you get the best deal; navigating the inspection, appraisal, and escrow process; and yes, signing all that pesky closing paperwork.
Bonus: As a buyer, you likely won't pay for your agent—that's typically the seller's cost. So... the better question is, why wouldn't you use an agent?
How do I know what to look for in a home?
This is up to you! However, it's important to take time to really prioritize your needs... and separate them from your wants. Too many buyers get caught up in fancy features and extra amenities—like granite counters or luxurious master bathrooms—and end up overlooking the things they really need in a home, like a certain number of bedrooms or type of property. Before you start searching for a home, make a list of features you absolutely need, as well as some features you strongly want to have, and some features you'd like to have. When choosing homes to tour, first make sure it checks off all of your needs... then worry about wants and would-be-nices.
What if I have bad credit or no down payment?
Actually, you might have more options than you think. Nowadays, there are hundreds of loan options out there, each targeted to a unique buyer and situation. Depending on your occupation, income, location, and more, you might qualify for a government loan or other specialty loan designed specifically for helping lower income buyers, buyers with little to no down payment, or buyers with less-than-ideal credit. Want to find out what you qualify for? It's always best to ask a lender!
What will I have to pay up front?
There are a few upfront costs associated with buying a home. The biggest is usually (though not always) the down payment. Depending on the type of loan you use, this might be anywhere from about 3% to 20%. You'll also have some closing costs to pay along with your down payment. These are typically pretty low for buyers (around a few thousand dollars) and consist of various fees, charges, taxes, and prorations. Your lender can give you an estimate of what these will cost when you get prequalified and an exact amount before you close.
What monthly costs will I pay?
As you might've guessed, buying a home is more than the down payment, and it's more than your monthly mortgage payments. In fact, your mortgage payment itself is divided into four different parts! First, there's the principal—that's the amount you borrowed that you're paying back. Then, there's interest on the money borrowed. Next, there are taxes—those are your annual city and state property taxes, divided into monthly payments and bundled in with your mortgage. And lastly, there's insurance—and that's your homeowner's insurance that protects you financially against damages to your home. These four costs are often abbreviated as "PITI".
Besides your monthly payments, you'll also pay for a variety of utilities, plus regular maintenance on things like your lawn, gutters and roof, siding, and more. Additionally, depending on your neighborhood, you might also pay a homeowner's association fee.
Middle Tennessee Home Buying Resources