Finance Friday, Saving
Home quote

Times have changed since our grandparents bought or built their homes. Young families who want to live in the suburbs  save as much money as they can while living with their parents or renting a cheap apartment so they can accumulate a large down payment for their dream home, which is often financed by a Savings & Loan. After approval they often ride around neighborhoods with a realtor or pick out a floor plan from a builder’s portfolio and add a few custom touches, such as the color of the shutters or what kind of flooring they desire. Carports and single car garages are often an important feature  for almost every suburban middle-class neighborhood.

By the time our parents wanted to buy their first home, the home loans had changed to less money – if any – for a down payment through a commercial bank or mortgage company. They still might have rode around with a realtor or worked with a builder, but they became a little more demanding for amenities–upgraded kitchen appliances, better quality carpeting, and master bedrooms with an adjoining bathroom.

Today’s generation has come to expect even nicer details such as the amenities offered by Grand Homes in the Dallas, TX area. Building upscale homes for over 30 years, Grand Homes has been a key force in leading Dallas/Ft. Worth architectural trends and has blazed the trail in new home features for their upscale communities, such as front doors with designer leaded glass, foyers with marble floors, circular staircases, and evolving the master bedroom into a master retreat. We have come to expect features like hardwood floors, granite counter tops and two-car garages.

The Federal Government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development has many helpful sources on the internet about mortgages, review the information on their site before you purchase your new home. Their web site has links to pages that explain the “Nine Steps to Buying a Home,” and helpful sites such as mortgage calculators, home buying programs, and explanations of the different types of government loans, including traditional government backed loans obtained through commercial banks.

The government also has programs to help various groups, such as:

  • Veterans of our U. S. A. armed forces,
  • Rural Americans,
  • Native American Indians
  • Law enforcement officers,
  • Teachers for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade
  • Firefighters
  • Emergency medical technicians

There are also programs to buy houses that have been forfeited in a foreclosure action that can be bid on, renovated and lived in for 25%-50% less than comparable properties in the same neighborhoods, depending on the city.

Home buyers should check out all their options for financing before contacting a realtor. The websites of many home builders such as the Texas-based Grand Homes have links to mortgage companies they work with and free tools like monthly payment calculators. These tools allow home buyers to know how much they can afford to spend and how much their monthly payments will be based on current loan rates. We all know the saying, “what you don’t know will hurt you,” but in the case of home loans, what you don’t know can cost you.

Once you are qualified for a mortgage and know how much house you can afford, it is time to find a realtor or builder and decide on what community fits your lifestyle. Grand Homes has 35 communities throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, with floor plans and amenities for the most discriminate home buyer. Many have furnished model homes open daily for tours.

In addition to mortgage information, builder websites have floor plans, links to local schools and social media sites. Grand Homes has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, that sends a variety of tips and ideas for everything home-related. Recent Tweets include helpful suggestions for mudroom storage, the newest color trends in home decorating and recipes for end of summer cocktails.

This post was submitted by Samantha Peters, a contributor on the personal finance blog Paid Twice.  Sam enjoys writing about ways to ensure that your money is working hard and earning you the highest rates of return.  Sam lives in sunny San Diego, California where she enjoys life with her puppy Leona.