Real Estate Q & A from our Professional Realtors

Since the Altman Real Estate Agency is an independently owned and operated agency, we strive to be more interested in the personal touch that so many large companies have forgotten.  We take pride in giving our customers a friendly, comfortable atmosphere in which they can feel free to ask us anything.

If you are thinking about purchasing a home, you have come to the right place.  If you have a question that isn’t covered in this section, please feel free to call our Broker, Gary L. Altman at 724-543-1039.  Together we can find your dream home!

Common Buyer Questions:

What is involved in buying a residential home? 

Buying a home is an exciting process.  Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime.  It is important to get it right.  This means that you must take your time and do your homework and due diligence.  Make sure that the home that you eventually buy is the correct one for you in terms of price, location, value, size and lifestyle.

Why should I buy a home instead of renting?

If you buy a home, you feel a sense of pride of ownership, it is your home, that you purchased.  You feel a sense of self satisfaction when you decorate, and create your color schemes in each room, each room unique to your own personal style.  You can do it your way!

A benefit of owning your own home is that you can deduct the cost of your mortgage loan interest from your federal income taxes.  If you look at an amortization schedule, you will see that at first, most of your payment will be interest.  As your loan term goes on, you will notice that about half way through your loan, more of your payment will go towards your principal balance.  You may also deduct the taxes that you pay as a homeowner.  These two items can add up to LARGE SAVINGS on your income tax returns.

Another financial benefit of homeownership is appreciation (the value of your home increasing over time) or as you improve your home and increase your equity in the home.  If you rent, you may have a shoe box full of cancelled check images and money that you kissed good bye and is gone forever with no real benefit other than having a place to sleep.  At the end of the lease, the landlord may even want to increase the rent if you kept it looking nice.

How much can I afford to pay for a home?

Most financial institutions say that if you add your gross monthly income (not take home) with your spouse’s gross monthly income and multiply that by 30% of your total gross monthly income, this figure would be what you can afford to use towards housing related payments, ie: mortgage payments, taxes and insurance.

Secondly, take 40% X your total gross monthly income.  This figure would be that which you can pay for housing costs, car loans, credit cards, and lines of credit.  Both of these calculations will be used to help determine how much of your income may be used towards housing related payments, including your mortgage payments.  These calculations are based on most lender guidelines.

These are the maximum calculations.  If you look at these figures and determine these are too high, that is good.  You always want to leave yourself money for groceries and “luxury” type expenditures such as going to the movies, etc.  You may want to settle for something less than the maximum so you don’t stretch yourself to the limit.  Make sure you don’t leave yourself  “house poor.”  Structure your payment so that you can still afford simple luxuries.

Please, call with any other questions that cross your mind.