It used to be that the first step in buying a home was to make a phone call to a real estate agent, who held the key to closely-kept information about the homes for sale in a given location. Buyers were often at the mercy of the agent’s research and advice, and countless days were spent driving from one house to another, looking for the perfect home, ideally, no money down home. Once a home was found, a confusing and complicated journey through financing and mortgage procurement was begun, which many homebuyers found frustrating and difficult—and impossible to understand.
Luckily for the modern homebuyer, the internet has changed all that, empowering first-time and repeat homebuyers with information, tools and resources designed to make purchasing a new home easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. Here we’ve outlined some of the best; if you find some other great ones, be sure to let us know in the comments!
1.) Calculators, calculators, calculators. Online calculators are useful for those making the first steps toward homeownership. Mortgage calculators (such as those provided by online financial site Bankrate.com) can help you get a sense of the costs of homeownership, as well as how much home you are able to afford. Ginnie Mae also has a number of useful calculators online, including one that can help you determine whether it makes more sense for you to buy or rent. While these calculators can give you a ballpark figure, keep in mind that only a seasoned and professional mortgage broker or lender can give a proper assessment of your financial situation, and help you determine what you can comfortably borrow.
2.) Homebuyer Guides. There are a number homebuyer guides online—including this homebuyer guide from LGI Homes—most of which cover the basics of how purchasing a home works. Our own guide covers the steps involved in buying a home, clarifies common terms and acronyms encountered by homebuyers, and provides basic information on the process of applying, qualifying and signing for a mortgage. All helpful information for de-mystifying a very important (but complicated) process.
3.) Websites Galore. Nowhere has the internet proven of more use than for homebuyers interested in seeing what’s for sale in their target neighborhood, and at what price. Online new homes listing sites such as NewHomesSection.com and NewHomeSource.com give buyers an instant overview of the homes available in their neighborhood and at their price point, while also providing links to home and community photos, floor plans, and builder information. Many builders also maintain extensive websites with information about their communities, such as the listing website for LGI Homes, making it easy to learn about nearby communities.
With all of these resources available, it’s easy to start your journey toward homeownership off on a well-educated and informed foot. For any other questions you may need answered, our new homes associates are always ready and eager to help, so don’t hesitate to check in with us at any one of our new homes communities