Buying a Home

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With the real estate market being more volatile than ever, lenders have become much more stringent on making sure their buyers are qualified to purchase a home. A real estate professional or lending institution can prequalify you for a home loan, giving you an overview of what you can afford to purchase, how much your down payment will be, interest rates, taxes and insurance costs. Loan program rules vary depending on the agency, but a general rule of thumb is a housing payment should not exceed 28 percent of the buyer's income. There are both federal and state loan programs available to qualified buyers, including FHA, VA and USDA. Military personnel may qualify for some first-time homebuyer's benefits in Oklahoma. For more information and to learn if you are eligible for special grants and loans, contact the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency at (405) 848-1144. 

Determining the kind of home that best suits your needs is the next step in the home-buying process. Hiring a reputable, licensed real estate agent is integral to being able to see all the houses on the market, as well as researching online via real estate MLS listing services and real estate agencies. You should consider location, school district if you have children, proximity to work or other activities and what kind of amenities you want. Do you want a more rural area, or do you prefer an urban environment? Private pool? Community center or parks? Do you want a newer home with minimal cosmetic issues, or do you enjoy the challenge of a "fixer-upper" and putting in some sweat equity? Other considerations include number of bedrooms and bathrooms you might need and whether you prefer a single family home or the lower maintenance of a town home or condo. 

Your real estate agent will be able to direct you toward whatever kind of home you decide on, evaluating your needs and the housing market itself. Once you find a home, the process turns to making an offer to the seller and, once that has been accepted, a written contract. Contracts will include information on the home inspection, what items the buyer pays for and which are the seller's responsibility, as well as the real estate broker's commission and details of the closing dates. 

It generally takes about 30 days for all steps to be completed in the purchase, which can vary depending on your loan program requirements, any repairs that the home inspection might uncover or scheduling times for the closing date. 


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