By: Zack Hanebrink, Co-Founder of HookLead - Real Estate Marketing Company
Buying a new home is an incredibly exciting time of your life. However, it can also be incredibly stressful, especially if you don't go about it in an organized fashion. Luckily, there are a number of tools available to you to help make it run much more smoothly, saving you time and stress in the process. Here are a few of our favorites:
Real Estate Search Engines
In this golden age of the internet, searching for real estate has never been easier. There are so many online tools at your disposal to help you find that perfect home. Real estate search engines, like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, to name a few, can help you search for property listings in your neighborhood of choice. You can browse through property photos, view floor plans and save your favorites to have your real estate agent show you.
When you are searching for a new home, you'll likely visit many different houses in a variety of neighborhoods. After even just a few visits, they can all begin to run together, getting confused in your memory. To help you keep track of what you liked and didn't like about each home, a digital camera or the camera in your smart phone can be invaluable. To help you keep organized, write the address of the home on a piece of paper and take a photo of that before you begin your tour. This way, you'll know exactly which photos belong to which house when it comes time to make your decision.
There are plenty of free mortgage calculators available on the web, and you can find them with a quick search. To calculate your monthly payments, you'll need to enter your loan and down payment amounts, interest rate and loan term. The calculator can then give you an estimate of what your monthly payments will be for the life of your mortgage. Keep in mind that these calculators are most suitable for fixed rate mortgages. If your mortgage will have an adjustable rate, it is important to take into consideration what your payments might be if interest rates rise. You want to make sure that you will still be able to afford the home at a higher rate to reduce your risk of defaulting on your loan.
State Property Tax Website
While many mortgage calculators also take into account the amount of property tax you'll need to pay each month, this is not always the case. To ensure that you have the complete picture of what your monthly expenses will be for a particular home, it is important to consult the government regarding your taxes. The amount varies from state to state, so you'll need to find information that is specific to your local area for the most accurate results.
National Sex Offender Registry
This can be a useful tool to help you evaluate potential neighborhoods in which to search for houses. This can be of particular importance if you have children or plan to have children in the future. Keep in mind, though, that a registered sex offender living in the neighborhood should not necessarily deter you from buying a house in that area. It is important to take into consideration the nature of the offense as well so that you can gauge any possible effects on your family.
These are just a few of the many options you have at your disposal to make home buying easier. By staying organized and focused during the home buying process, you'll greatly increase your chances of successfully finding and purchasing your dream home.