1. HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M READY TO BUY A HOME?
You can find out by asking yourself some questions:
Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
Do I have a good record of paying my bills?
Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments?
Do I have money saved for a down payment?
Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs?
If you can answer "yes" to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.
2. HOW DO I BEGIN THE PROCESS OF BUYING A HOME?
Get Pre-qualified. There are several excellent lenders in Great Falls and here are a few we work with who seem to be the most competitive:
Mountain West Bank NA. - Julia Banker;
Stockmans Bank - Jason Edmister;
Montana Federal Credit Union - Tina.
3. HOW DOES PURCHASING A HOME COMPARE WITH RENTING?
The two don't really compare at all. The one advantage of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits, and protect yourself against rent increases.
4. HOW DOES THE LENDER DECIDE THE MAXIMUM LOAN AMOUNT THAT CAN AFFORD?
The lender considers your debt-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your gross (pre-tax) income to housing and non-housing expenses.
5. HOW DO I SELECT THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE AGENT?
Look for an agent who listens well and understands your needs, and whose judgment you trust.
6. HOW CAN I DETERMINE MY HOUSING NEEDS BEFORE I BEGIN THE SEARCH?
Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a "wish list" covers things that you'd like to have but aren't essential.
Kelly Parks - cell: 406-788-6826
Russ Eustance - 406-788-3363
Larry Hannah - 406-788-1250 (ranch expert)