Buying a home can be an exciting time, however, the preparation process requires planning and effort. As you prepare to purchase a new home in the upcoming year, there are steps you should be taking now to ensure the experience is effortless and snag-free. Let’s discuss 5 steps you should be taking now for your upcoming home purchase:
- Check that credit score! We recommend Credit Karma. Start monitoring your credit several months prior to initializing your mortgage application. Watch for any alerts or issues that could be detrimental to your credit. Dispute all inaccuracies immediately. Leave older lines of credit open. These older lines of credit boost your credit score, provided they are current and active. Do not open any new credit lines six months prior to your mortgage application and do not make any large purchases in the six months before buying a home. Start saving! Every dollar will matter when it is time to apply that down payment!
- Research: Start watching the real estate market. Scan real estate magazines, newspapers, and websites (such as Zillow and Trulia) for real estate listings in which you’re interested. What style of home catches your interest? How large of a home do you need? Do you want a large home and a small yard or vice-versa? Make a list of things you must have and other things that would be nice but aren’t deal breakers. You’ll want to have this list with you when you discuss what you’re seeking with your realtor. As you shop, take notes. You’re going to see quite a few houses. It can be hard to remember where you saw that perfect kitchen once you’ve been on four or five tours. Take pictures or videos! Take as much time as you need to find that perfect home for you!
- Do the math: Before you start shopping for that new home, you’ll need to know what you can afford. Get pre-qualified for your mortgage. By providing basic financial information to your lender, you’ll be able to determine how much of a home you can afford. Knowing your price range can save you a ton of time and effort!
- Find the right match: Finding the perfect real estate agent is crucial! You’ll be trusting this person in seeking out the perfect home for you! Being able to communicate effectively with one another is key! Find someone you relate to and who listens! We recommend always choosing a REALTOR®, which is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which are held to a strict Code of Ethics.
- Make your offer and secure your mortgage: Once you’ve found that perfect home, it’s time to make that offer. Your real estate agent’s expertise will be a huge help! He or she can give you a list of comparable homes in the surrounding areas. This will help you keep your offer as low as possible, without risking someone else making an offer and stealing your dream! Once your offer is approved, get that mortgage secured!
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be able to sit back and wait on that approval letter. You might want to pick up some boxes on the way home and get packing! We hope these tips get you started in the right direction for buying a home. May the upcoming year bring you much financial security and happiness in your new home! Happy 2018!