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 hous-
ing-related transactions based on race, color,
national origin, religion, sex, handicap
(disability) or familial status (including chil-
dren 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 organization. Your mortgage lender
is forbidden from paying your real estate
broker $250 for referring you to the lender,
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
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 made easier by
finding a good real estate professional who can
guide you through the entire process.
Choose a real estate broker who is well
acquainted with your needs and wants for
your new home. Make sure they are familiar
with the neighborhood you are considering,
the quality of schools, safety of the area, traffic
volume, and so on. A good realtor will save
you hours of time and might have inside tips
on houses that are fresh on the market. Realtors can also provide advice and tips when it
comes time to make an offer on a home.
DO YOU NEED A CPA?
Sometimes it can be a good idea to hire a
licensed certified public accountant (CPA).
CPAs can provide you with professional
advice on personal finances and other
matters, including how to adjust your
finances to help you meet your personal
goals, such as buying a house and other
financial and legal needs.
APPLYING FOR A
You can save time if you have the following items with you when you
visit your lender. Depending on your lender, you may be asked for
What You Need To Know
Social Security numbers for both you and your spouse, if
both of you are applying
for the loan.
Copies of your checking and savings account statements
for the past six months.
Evidence of any other assets such as bonds, stocks,
investment or retirement accounts.
A recent paycheck stub detailing your and your spouse’s
A list of all credit card accounts and the approximate
monthly amounts owed.
A list of account numbers and balances due on
outstanding loans, such as cars.
Copies of your last two years of income
The name and address of someone who can verify your