5 tips to make home buying a breeze in Birmingham, including mortgage shopping

Birmingham, Alabama, home buying, guide
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Birmingham, Alabama, home buying, guide

When it comes to buying a home in Birmingham, there’s so much information out there. It seems like Google is not always your friend. Real estate, mortgages, closings, the list goes on and on. Get into your next home hassle free with these must-know tips.

Bham Now H2 Loft Tours
Photo courtesy of H2 Real Estate

First things first. Home buying is a big process. Your best bet? Break it down. We’ve tackled all you need to know about purchasing a home and divided our findings into easy categories. Here are our insider tips:

Birmingham, Alabama, home buying, guide

Location, No Really, Location!

Where  you live matters. In terms of buying a home, your personal preferences will come into play, as well as the resale potential of the houses in the neighborhood you choose.

While you may be focusing on the perfect number of bedrooms and bathrooms, your new address means more than just a new home. Location has much more of an impact on a home-buying decision than you might realize. So yes, check out those neighborhoods.

Highland School children on a field trip to Ruffner Mountain. Photo by Bob Farley for Bham Now.

Don’t forget to pay attention to school districts. A home that’s zoned for a well-rated school often means a higher resale value, not to mention a great place for your kids to receive their education.  

Birmingham, Jefferson County, Jefferson County Schools, Liberty Park Middle School, school lunchrooms, school lunchroom health ratings
Liberty Park Middle School. Photo via Facebook.
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Don’t Fret Over Financing

Pro tip: Try portfolio financing via IBERIABANK. They’re the one-stop shop for home buying. With consistently competitive rates and a seasoned staff, they’re experts at loan origination, loan underwriting and loan closing.

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Do Your Mortgage Homework

You’ll need to take care of some business before applying for a mortgage, but it’s never too soon to get into your best financial shape. Before you apply for a mortgage, make your life easier by getting organized and following these steps:

Gather this standard set of materials:

“ … A month of recent pay stubs from any buyers who will be listed on the loan, as well as your most recent two years’ worth of tax filings.

“ … You should also expect to hand over at least three months of bank account statements, and you will need to have documentation to explain any unusual large deposits or withdrawals.”

Ever heard of the 28/36 rule? It’s what most lenders use to calculate how much house you can afford.

It goes like this:

  • Your monthly payment on your mortgage must be no more than 28% of your gross income.
  • Your total revolving debt payments must be no more than 36% of your gross income.

You’ll also need to have your taxes in order, pay off your debt and raise your credit score.

Birmingham, Alabama, modular home trend story, example of traditionally constructed mid-century modern home in Mountain Brook
Built in 1962, this mid-century modern Mountain Brook home proves that modern aesthetics have a rightful place in Birmingham neighborhoods. Photo via realtor.com

It’s worth noting that your dollar is going to go far in the Birmingham-metro area. We’ve been rated as America’s highest paying city based on our cost of living, our job prospects and the state of Alabama’s economy. It also translates to purchasing power: more home for your money.

Birmingham, Alabama, real estate

Pick The Right Agent

Yep. While the internet has made it easy to search for a home, you’ll still want someone to look out for your best interests when it comes to negotiating the best price for you as they buyer. This can save you time, money and heartache in the long run.

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Go Down The List

Organization truly is the key to success. You already know about the benefits of owning a home or you wouldn’t be making this first move! Gathering information and forming your plan is a great first step. After all, it doesn’t cost a thing to get organized with our insider tips that will put you on the fast-track to home buying.

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