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Preparing for home ownership key

March 29, 2013
The Inter-Mountain

Finding and buying your dream home is one of the happiest and most exciting times of your life. Usually, there is a lot to consider when looking for a home. If you have a family, you may seek out just the right neighborhood or school district.

For the decor or to entertain, you may want to find a house with a specific number of rooms or a large yard.

Tena Pritt, Beverly branch manager for Citizens Bank of West Virginia, said there are many things to consider when determining if it's the right time to purchase a house. One of the best times to buy a house is when it costs less to buy than to pay rent, considering that you factor in the mortgage, taxes, insurance and other expenses, plus you plan to live there a minimum of five years.

Article Photos

Tena Pritt, Beverly branch manager for Citizens Bank of West Virginia, helps Durbin residents Allen Sisler and Melissa Sisler complete paperwork for their home loan. (The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart)

Another important consideration is how well you budget your money. Do you have extra money each month for house payments and the expenses it takes to run a household? Do you have the down payment saved to obtain a mortgage?

When it comes to buying a home, your credit score is an important consideration in the process.

The time to purchase a home will be right when your credit score is right. The better your credit score, the more it helps with your interest rate and your monthly payment. Without a good score, you may have to settle on a house that's not your dream home if you're paying a higher interest rate.

There are many different types of houses you can purchase, including single-family homes, townhouses, condos and fixer-uppers. Your house can be in a neighborhood or out in the woods with no neighbors at all. Write down everything you consider to be important.

Next, you need to go to the bank and learn how much mortgage you can afford.

You may think you can afford a $200,000 home, but when the lender looks at your credit report, monthly income and how much debt you currently have, you may qualify for a $250,000 mortgage. Your loan officer can help you choose a loan to fit your monthly budget.

Becky Weese, Home Ownership Center housing counselor, offers suggested homebuying process steps from NeighborWorks America "Realizing the American Dream."

"First, attend a homebuyer education class," Weese said, adding that these classes are offered at the Elkins Home Ownership Center. More information about the Elkins Home Ownership Center is available by calling 304-636-6495.

Additional recommended steps include determining affordability and obtaining a prequalification or preapproval. Once those steps are completed, decide on what type of home you want and the necessities the home should include. Next, shop for that home, and when you find it, make an offer. When the offer is accepted, apply for the loan, get necessary inspections and appraisals, and obtain insurance. The last step is closing on the loan.

Tim Harsh of Tim Harsh Construction said not all folks purchase ready-built homes.

"New construction allows the homebuyer to get exactly what they want, rather than settling on an existing home," Harsh said. "When you build new, it is to your specifications and exactly what you want and need. Plus, it's all brand new.

"If you choose new construction, I can help you go through and pick out what you need," Harsh added. "We can help set up priorities and help with financing options."

Harsh said the housing market had drastically changed because of the economy, but is turning around.

"They are projecting 40 percent of homes sold this year will be new construction," Harsh said. "There is also a big market for remodeling, renovations and additions to existing homes."

Harsh said it is important to choose the time of year when you build.

"The time of year is key when building, because material prices go up and down with seasons," Harsh said.



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