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Home - Emporia State Federal Credit Union

Mortgage Process

Find a Home

Now that you have your pre-approval letter in hand and know how much home you can afford, it’s time to find a house! There are quite a few things to consider before putting in an offer. Let’s look at a few of them.

Where you are going to plant roots is important.

  • Concentrate your search in areas where houses are in your price range. Finding them is easy:
    • Work with a qualified real estate agent
    • Check the real estate section of the newspaper
    • Search online at various real estate sites
  • Drive through the neighborhoods you've chosen. Starting with your top two, drive to your place of work, both in the morning and the evening. How long is the commute? Is the time commitment reasonable?
  • Visit the neighborhood you've chosen. Drive through the neighborhood where you plan to live at different times of the day and at night (especially late night if you're a light sleeper) to check traffic and noise levels.

  • Tax rates for your area are usually available online and from your real estate agent
    • Keep an eye out for specials!
      • These special taxes only apply to certain areas as they are used to pay for infrastructure such as sewers and roads. Essentially, these taxes are reimbursements to the city for developing infrastructure that only benefits a specific neighborhood.
  • Homeowners Association (HOA)
    • Many neighborhoods may have specific requirements regarding property. Here are some examples:
      • How may outbuildings you can have and/or build
      • House paint color guidelines
      • Maximum number of pets allowed
  • Zoning. How is your new neighborhood zoned? Could you wake up one morning with an office building going up across the street? Ask your real estate agent or check with the local library for help in identifying any zoning issues.
  • Natural Hazards. Research natural hazards that may or may not be obvious. Is your neighborhood of choice:
    • On a flood plain
    • Over an earthquake fault
    • In a wetland area
    • In a potential wildfire zone
  • To check out these hazards and more, you may want to pay for a risk report.

Make a list of your wants and needs in a home. What are your deal breakers? What is your best-case scenario?

Be specific!

  • Think about outside your home
    • Yard size
    • Do you want a privacy fence?
    • Are you okay with a carport instead of a garage?
  • Think about inside your home
    • Do you need a basement? Or an attic?
    • What if the basement is not finished?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Any other living spaces you need?

A real-estate agent can help you with your list and narrow down what is reasonable within your budget!