Finding and buying a home
is an exciting experience—
but it can also be challenging.
Here is some information
to help Portland newcomers
overcome some of the hurdles
encountered in the home-buying process—and point
you in the right direction for
MORTGAGES + FINANCES
Before you even begin your home search, keep
in mind that there are laws to protect you from
scams, unnecessary expenses and discrimination in the process of buying a new home. The
Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of
dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions based on race, color, national origin,
religion, sex, handicap (disability) or familial
status (including children under the age of 18
living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women and people securing custody of
children under the age of 18).
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
(RESPA) makes it illegal for anyone to pay or
receive a fee, kickback or anything of value
because they agree to refer settlement service
business to a particular person or organiza-
tion. Your mortgage lender is forbidden from
paying your real estate broker $250 for refer-
ring you to the lender, for example.
Save yourself trouble by taking the time to
figure out the mortgage you can afford and
then get pre-approved. Keep in mind that you
must consider current loan interest rates.
Generally, the lower the interest rate, the more
expensive a home you can afford to purchase.
Also keep in mind that you don’t have to take
out the highest loan that you qualify for.
For a general estimate of what type of home
you can afford by going to www.ginniemae.
gov. You’ll be asked to answer a few questions
and then the calculator will provide a general
estimate of the maximum sale price you
may qualify for under the Federal Housing
Administration (FHA), Veterans Association
(VA) and conventional loans. This tool also
estimates your down payment, closing costs,
total cash required at closing, monthly mortgage payment, other monthly housing costs
and your remaining monthly income. Keep
in mind that these are only estimates. See a
lender for more details.
HIRE SOMEONE TO HELP
The details involved in buying a home,
particularly the financial ones, can be
mindboggling. The entire process can be