Frequently Asked Questions
First Time Home Buyers Should Ask
Since a home purchase is usually the single largest purchase an individual or family can make, many factors must be considered before joining the home ownership club.
Here are questions all first time homebuyers should ask before they commit to purchase a home.
- Should I rent or buy? The rent vs. buy question generally compares the cost of renting to the after-tax cost of owning a home. Some factors to consider are rent increases and home price appreciation in your area. If you have a nice, inexpensive, rent-controlled apartment, then it may not make sense to buy. However, if you are planning to stay in the same place for a longer period of time and the property values in your area are rising, buying may be a good decision.
- How much house can I afford? Typically, the amount you can afford to spend on a home is based your cash on hand, your salary and your outstanding debt. Having a budget profile completed specifically for you is highly recommended. Builders will usually use an affordability calculator to see how much you can afford to spend on a custom home or home and land together. This free service asks you for basic salary, savings and debt information.
- When is the best time to get loan approval? Palm Harbor Homes recommends that buyers be pre-approved for their home loan. Pre-approval simply means working with a lender to determine the maximum loan amount the buyer could qualify for with that lender prior to buying land and selecting a house plan. The benefits of pre-approval include increased negotiating power with the land seller since the seller knows you can complete the transaction. In fact, some sellers will not even entertain offers unless the buyer is pre-approved. To get pre-approved for your land and home, visit any Palm Harbor Homes location.
- What are the tax implications? When you buy a home mortgage, interest and property taxes are generally deductible from the income taxes you itemize and pay in April. This means while monthly housing costs may be larger when you own than when you rent, what you save in taxes can make up some or all of the difference. For details, speak with a tax professional.
- Have I seen everything on the market? Ensure that you have seen all the land and buildable sites available by asking your agent. Some real estate agents have an incentive to only show their own featured land and site listings, not all of the available listings on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). One way to ensure you see every available home is to search for yourself.
- How will I know I am not overpaying for the property? One way to ensure a fair price for your property is to look at what other sites of similar size and characteristics have sold for in the past few months. Your real estate agent should be able to provide you with recent comparable land sales in the area.
- When can I move in? After the home closes escrow, it will be approximately 90-120 days before you can move in, depending on the geographic area. Your housing consultant will make sure you have a time line prepared so you have a good feel for how long it will take. Every custom home is different, so move in dates cannot be guaranteed.