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Finding the Right Home

Personal Lifestyle

The type of home that's best for you depends on many factors besides your income. Are you single? Married? Do you have children? Do you enjoy yard work? Do you do a lot of traveling for business or pleasure? What are your plans five years from now? Ten years from now?

Consider your personal lifestyle, then narrow your choices to the locations and types of property that best accommodate the way you will be living for the next few years.

Location. Location. Location.

Evaluate the entire community you are considering. Find out about the zoning regulations, school district, city services, churches, shopping areas, entertainment opportunities, recreational facilities, places of employment, health care facilities, public transportation, and access to highways. Are there any known areas with environmental concerns?

Is the community growing? What is the tax base? Are the surrounding homes of comparable or better value than the one you are considering? 

Single Family Homes

The single-family home is still a popular choice for most buyers. Your options within this category are many and diverse, and each offers specific benefits and drawbacks.

If you prefer a home with a large lot in a rural location, you may have to contend with well water and a septic system rather than city water and sewer services.

If you purchase a home in a development, you may face deed restrictions that control what you can and cannot do to the property.

If you're handy with tools, you may want to consider a "fixer-upper" in a prime area. Good buys can be found but may be more difficult to finance. Your Realtor® can help you establish the potential worth of a "fixer-upper" and negotiate a fair price.

Condominiums

If you don't want the hassles of yard work or shoveling snow, consider a condominium. In a condominium, you receive title to the air space of a unit and an undivided interest in the common areas of the entire complex. Of course, you will be responsible for paying a monthly maintenance fee for upkeep of the common areas (landscaping, snow removal, janitorial service, management, etc.).

Like a single-family home, your condominium can be financed by a traditional mortgage loan.

As always, know what you are buying. Ask to see the declaration, by-laws, and budget of each complex. Restrictions vary. Some allow pets. Some don't. The services that are covered by your monthly maintenance fee also vary. Your Realtor® can help you review the appropriate documents to decide if a particular condominium is right for you.

Planned Unit Developments

For some people, the planned unit development (PUD) is a nice compromise between a single-family home and a condominium. In a PUD, you purchase an actual structure and the lot it sits on, as opposed to the purchase of air space in a condominium. The homes in a PUD may be free-standing or part of a cluster arrangement. As with some condominiums, you share ownership in the common areas as well. However, in a PUD, the common areas and the corresponding maintenance fees are generally not as significant as those associated with condominiums. Review the declaration, by-laws, and budget of each PUD complex with your Realtor® to understand what you are buying.

Income-Producing Residential Property

If you purchase a 2-4 family residence and are willing to occupy one unit, you can offset a good portion of your monthly mortgage payment with the rental income generated by the other units. Keep in mind that owner occupancy is a key issue with most lenders, entitling you to rates and terms different than those they will make available to absentee landlords.

Income-producing residential property is not for everyone. Besides caring for your own unit, you will have to collect rent, deal with non-payment of rent, make repairs on all units (sometimes at very inconvenient times), and fill vacancies. However, if you can handle the added responsibility, owner-occupied rental property can be a good way to build equity and generate additional income. It also provides significant tax advantages, which you should discuss with an accountant.

Introduction

Selecting a Realtor

Previewing the contract

Finding the Right Home

Comparison List

Making the offer

Types of Mortgage Loans

The Mortgage Loan

Closing the Sale

Home buying Resources

FNB.com home

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