Consider these 7 tips to get started on the road to Home Ownership

1. Check the selling prices of homes in the area you’re interested in.
You can do a search of actual MLS listings in your area from our Dual MLS Search page. Sudy Baldwin Real Estate participates in Dual MLS areas – The new Southern Missouri (SOMO) Regional MLS and Joplin’s MLS.

2. See what you can afford, including taxes and insurance, by using the Mortgage Calculator on this page to see what your payment would be. To get an idea of what you’ll pay in insurance, pick a property in the area where you want to live and make a call to a local insurance agent for an estimate. You won’t be obligated to get the insurance, but you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll pay if you buy.

NOTE – Normally, a down payment of, at least, 10% is required. If you have a 20% down payment you can avoid paying mortgage insurance (PMI on the mortgage calculator). If you don’t have a down payment of, at least, 10% there’s still hope. Missouri has many Homeowner Assistance programs ready to help…take a look by clicking here. You may also qualify for a 3% down program. More information on those programs may be found here.

3. To get a feel for the maximum amount you should actually spend, due to other commitments, use a home affordability calculator to find out what your total monthly housing cost would be.

4. Find out how much you’ll likely pay in closing costs. The upfront cost to purchase your new home shouldn’t be overlooked. Closing costs include fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowners insurance or homeowners association fees. You can see what closing costs average in your state by looking at’s annual closing cost survey. Depending on the Seller, closing costs, can be a factor in negotiations.

5. Look at your budget and determine how a house fits into it. Fannie Mae recommends that buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing costs.

6. Contact us to discuss the real-estate climate. Do we believe prices will continue falling or do we think your area has hit bottom or will rise soon?

7. Remember to look at the big picture. Maintaining your home can be time consuming and when unexpected costs for new appliances, roof repairs and plumbing problems crop up, there’s no landlord to turn to.

Ready? – To have sellers take you serious you should get pre-approved.