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CALCULATORS - A BUYER'S BEST FRIEND

Use a home loan Mortgage Calculator to estimate your mortgage payment, with taxes and insurance.

Use a Debt-to-Income Calculator to help determine if you would qualify for a mortgage.

Use an Amortization Calculator to estimate how much you will pay each month for principal and interest over the life of a loan.

Use a Refinance Calculator to help determine whether you should refinance your mortgage.

COMMUNITY INFORMATION

Conner

Corvallis

Darby

Florence

Grantsdale

Hamilton

Pinesdale

Stevensville

Sula Victor

HOME BUYING RULES

Stay Put:  Commit yourself to your new home for at least a couple of years before making your next move.
Money Matters:  If you're considering a mortgage, shore up your credit and get a copy of your credit report.
Get Pre-Approved:  Save yourself the time and grief of looking at houses you can't afford.
Determine How Large Your Mortgage Can Be:  Explore different loan options to determine what is best for you.
Decide What And Where You Want To Buy:  Prioritize your needs (i.e., location, schools, and amenities...)
Consider Your Re-Sale Value:  Even if you don't have school-aged kids, a strong school district is a good thing.
Do Your Homework:  Bid based on sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood.
Calculate The Hidden Costs:  Property taxes, insurance, maintenance and association fees can impact your wallet over time.
Don't Be House Poor:  Double and triple check to be sure you haven't maxed yourself out on the cost of your home and left nothing for maintenance, etc.
Get Help:  Consider hiring one of our Realtors to get the most for your money. It pays to have a professional real estate agent looking out for your interests.

From Montana Association of REALTORS

FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS

The Montana Board of Housing helps make home ownership affordable for first-time buyers.

If you are dreaming of buying your first home, but you're not sure you can afford it, check out the Homebuyer Information on the Montana Board of Housing web site for information on a low-interest mortgage and down payment assistance.



EDUCATION AND COUNSELING

Owning a home is a major financial responsibility. The Montana Board of Housing (MBOH) recommends that any potential homebuyer take Homebuyer Education before beginning the process of qualifying for a loan or searching for a home. Educated homeowners stay in their homes longer, take pride in their properties, and have one-third less foreclosures.

MBOH programs require homebuyer education unless they qualify for a waiver. The MBOH is a partner in the Montana Homeownership Network which is a group of non-profit, governmental and private sector agencies that specialize in first-time homebuyer services and loan products. Montana Homeownership Network members offer pre-purchase education and planning, so you can make the right choice in a home and a loan. All classes meet HUD requirements and are taught by National Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling Certified educators. Courses are at least 8 hours in length and are offered over the course of a full day or two-to-three evenings depending on the organization.

The website NeighborWorks Montana is a good place to find a service provider who offers homebuyer education classes, homebuyer counseling, budget and financial counseling.

FINANCIAL TIPS

Buying a home can be an exciting, yet often overwhelming, experience. These tips will help you navigate the process.

Clean Up Your Credit:  If you have poor credit, you are a bigger risk in the eyes of lenders. You'll pay the price in the form of higher interest rates. Higher rates can reduce the amount of home you can afford or keep you out of the housing market altogether. Make a point of paying auto loans, credit card bills, and other payments on time and in full. If you want help developing a plan, you can contact a housing counseling agency, often at little or no cost.

Save:  You may need money for your down payment, closing costs, moving and other expenses.

Look For Gifts And Grants:  In addition to your relatives and friends, your employer might offer incentives for first-time homebuyers.

Get Preapproved For Your Loan:  A lender can tell you generally what you can afford and how much you can borrow. This will give you an edge with sellers in a competitive market.

Be Realistic:  Your dream house could quickly turn into a nightmare if you spend more than you can really afford. Pick a house with a mortgage payment that will allow you to be comfortable in other aspects of your life.

Consult With A Real Estate Professional:  Realtors are invaluable in providing information about homes and their neighborhoods. In addition, if you hire a real estate agent as your representative, he or she will be working on your behalf and may get you a better deal on your home. Most of the time, buyer's representatives are paid out of the seller's commission.

Research The Neighborhood:   A good real estate agent can help you with this. Check out the ratings of the neighborhood schools. Even if you don't have children, this could be important when you try to sell the house in the future. Also, make sure you know the proximity to anything that might be deemed undesirable, such as airports and major highways, and ask your real estate agent for zoning information on any areas surrounding the home and neighborhood.

Make Any Offer Contingent On An Inspection:  Even if the house looks perfect to you, chances are that it's not. A professional inspection can help you understand the condition of the property and identify problems you may encounter in the future. To find a home inspector in your area, ask your Realtor for a recommendation.

Ask The Seller For Utility Bills Or Estimates:  Costs for electricity, gas, and water can add up. Sellers should be able to provide copies of bills or estimates to give you an idea of what to expect.

Don't Change Your Financial Status:  From the time you decide to buy a home until you actually close on the loan is not the time to make major changes in your finances. Don't quit your job, don't buy a new car or make any other large purchases, and don't stop paying your bills. Changes like these can result in even a preapproved loan being denied before closing.

From the Montana Board of Housing

Printable version of Tips to Sell

Ravalli County - Bitterroot Valley - Missoula County
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We have all the tools and experience necessary to help with your real estate search. We suggest that you search our large inventory of property first, by using the Search Our Listing box at the top of this page. Then continue your search using the hortizonal menu at the top of this page to search through listings in both Ravalli County and Missoula County.

Please contact us regarding property you find. We can give you additional information and set up a personal showing on any property including those advertised by other real estate companies.

If you aren't able to find what you're looking for, let us help you find it. Call us on (406) 363-4700 or email us at Realtyhm@montanawestgate.com

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