Ruhl & Ruhl Realtors | BuyersGuide.aspx

We’re Here to Help!

No matter the reason – growing family, marriage, new job or retirement – it’s exciting when you decide now is the time for a new home. For buyers, it can be an intimating process. How do you start? Who can you contact? How much can you afford? Fortunately, Ruhl&Ruhl provides trusted real estate advisors and resources to help buyers with every step of the process.

Preparing to Buy

Now that you have considered your needs and wants, as well as your timeline and the current market conditions, you will want to start identifying where you would like live and how you will purchase a home.

Step one: Decide your price range. Get preapproved.

There are three key factors that you will need to consider when determining how much home you can afford. These are:

  1. Your ability to qualify for a mortgage
  2. The down payment
  3. The closing costs associated with your transaction

You will first want to sit down with a mortgage loan officer to share your timeline and some of your expectations of the home buying process. Based on your income, debt and savings, they will be able to provide a pre-approval letter for the total loan amount you qualify for, and discuss different loan products that may work for you.. It's important to find a mortgage loan officer that is knowledgeable and has access to lots of different loan products. To contact a loan officer or to get pre-approved for a mortgage online, visit

Here are the benefits of a mortgage pre-approval:

Remember, you shouldn’t just go to one lender. You should always get a second opinion.

Step two: Investigate the other costs involved.

You will also discuss with your loan officer what you plan to use as your down payment. Most loans today require a minimum down payment of between 3.5% and 5.0% depending on the type and terms of the loan.

If you are able to come up with 20-25% down payment, you may be eligible to take advantage of special fast-track programs and possibly eliminate mortgage insurance.

Closing costs are the fees charged by lenders and attorneys in order to close your home. These fees can vary on your team members and price of the home. These are paid at the time that you close on your mortgage. Most of the time, the homebuyer pays the closing costs, but there are times that the seller may pay a portion of these costs if negotiated.

Closing costs may include:

  • Save time as you target your search.
    Don’t waste time looking at homes outside your budget. Knowing the maximum mortgage amount you may obtain allows you to shop confidently.
  • Improve negotiations with sellers.
    Sellers often show preference to the buyer with “assured” financing, knowing that pre-approval often ensures a quicker closing.
  • Speed up the final loan approval.
    Since we obtain much of the required loan documentation for pre-approval, we’ll be able to process your mortgage request more quickly.

    Closing costs in our markets generally cost between $2,000-$5,000. Lenders are required by law to give you a good faith estimate (GFE) of what the closing costs on your home will be within three days of when you apply for a loan.

    Step three: Location, location, location!:

    Once you have your pre-approval letter and understand what you can afford, it's time to get looking! You first should identify the area or neighborhoods in which you would like to live.

    While you’re looking at neighborhoods, drive through different areas of town to see them in person. You need to determine that the neighborhood in which you choose to look for a home matches your lifestyle and personality. Talk to people who live there. Drive through the entire area at different times of the day. Here are some tips about what to look for:

    • A fee for running your credit report
    • A loan origination fee
    • Attorney's fees
    • Discount points, which are fees you pay in exchange for a lower interest rate
    • Appraisal fee
    • Title insurance
    • Escrow deposit
    • Recording fee
    • Underwriting fee

      You may get lucky and find the neighborhood of your dreams right away. However, you’re far more likely to end up evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of several neighborhoods while trying to decide which meets your needs and has a home that meets your criteria.

      • Does the neighborhood have access to major thoroughfares, highways, and shopping?
      • Is it a loud neighborhood or a quiet one? Listen for noise created by commerce, roads, railways, public areas, schools, etc.
      • Smell the air for adjacent commerce or agriculture.
      • Check with local civic, police, fire, and school officials to find information about the area.
      • Is the neighborhood near parks, churches, recreation centers, shopping, theaters, restaurants, public transportation, schools, etc.?
      • Does the neighborhood belong to a Homeowner’s Association?
      • What is the commuting time?
      • Is your neighborhood near places that you would like to go?
      • What is the quality of the schools? What are the average test scores, college-bound percentages and/or state rankings?
      • What is the crime rate per-capita for major crimes? How does it compare with other neighborhoods that you are looking at?
      • Is it close to museums, galleries, universities, seasonal entertainment, theaters? Even if you don’t frequent them, they set the tone for the area.

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