7 Tips for Buying Your First Home in the U.S.
Published: April 09, 2013
To get a U.S. mortgage, you must establish credit and earn a good credit score (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-loans-mortgages/how-fico-credit-scores-work/). To boost your score:
3. Work with a REALTOR® who is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) and who has experience, training, and education in helping foreign-born home buyers. An experienced real estate or title attorney can help you protect your interests, too.
Tell your REALTOR® how the home buying process works in your native country and ask her to explain U.S. home-buying customs to identify any differences. Even within the U.S., local differences exist in how people buy and sell homes. Knowing how homes are sold here and what to expect with closing costs, inspections, and the negotiation process (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/negotiate-best-house-buy/) reduces your stress and helps you get a good deal on your first home.
4. Don't be shocked by Americans' casual attitudes toward buying or selling real estate; it's a byproduct of the relaxed U.S. business culture. Although real estate contracts must be in writing, the process leading up to the sales contract signing may be more informal and casual than it would be in your home country.
5. Learn to convert from the U.S. standard measurement into metric, or pick up a metric converter app so you can better estimate room and home sizes while shopping.
6. If you're not fluent in English, or prefer speaking in your native language, choose inspectors, mortgage bankers, and REALTORS® fluent in your own language. Although it's possible to get translated copies of standard real estate documents, you'll likely have to sign the English versions during your home purchase.
7. Consider all the real-estate related expenses you'll have as a home owner, including property taxes, home owners insurance, and maintenance costs. Set up a financial plan for your home (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-loans-mortgages/home-financial-planning/) so you know how much money to set aside for ongoing expenses.