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Essential Tips for Buying a House in Birmingham

Buying a home is an exciting and huge accomplishment—but it does require some preparation. Luckily, your friends at the Birmingham local movers have some tips to share on what you need to do to before buying a home. Read on and learn our expert tips for buying a new home in Birmingham.

Commit to staying put. While yes, there is always the ability to rent out property you own to worthy tenants, buying a home for the first time is a complicated process, and if you can’t commit to an area for a few years into owning then you might want to reconsider purchasing a place.

Strengthen your credit score. Unless you plan to be a cash buyer, you should plan for applying for a mortgage. One key element to this process is your credit score. The general rule of thumb for new buyers is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you'll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford. Factor in other expenses that come with buying, such as HOA fees and property insurance.

Try to save 20 percent for a down payment, but if you can’t, there are other lenders (public and private) that will consider you for a loan with less up front. Keep in mind your monthly mortgage expense will likely be higher.

Consider schools in the area. Even if you don’t have kids, you might one day, and if you decide to sell your home in the future a desirable school district can be a cutting edge for buyers. School districts are a strong variable for many looking to buy, so don’t discount them just because you don’t have children of your own.

Hire an agent. Even if you think you can go it alone, most new buyers are better off using a professional agent. Look for one who has a personality and demeanor that you like, because they will become a big part of your life over the next few months as you look for a home and eventually close a deal. The internet is a great way to look for a new home, but realtors have expert strategies that could help you seal the deal with sellers.

Understand the difference in points and rates. When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points -- a portion of the interest that you pay at closing -- in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time -- say three to five years or more -- it's usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.

 Hire an inspector. Before you buy, take it upon yourself to hire a professional home inspector as they will tell you the true condition of the home and what repairs may need to be done. They will also be able to point out pending problems that could cost you an arm and a leg down the road.