When purchasing a home it’s “like” being an infant and it’s a matter of putting one foot in front of another to meet your goal of home ownership!!
Buying a home can be one of the largest purchases that most people do in their lifetime, regardless if you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned veterans when purchasing a home. Being prepared is key!
In most cases, purchasing a home is not a “spur of the moment” or impulse decision and there should be means to plan your purchase.
Steps to Buying Starts Here …
Find a real estate agent – There’s no reason to go it alone—having an agent helping you can make the whole process much easier. If you are first time buyer, ask family and friends for a referral. If you have purchased a home in the past or have worked with an agent when selling – give them a call. Of course, Swanson Real Estate has a “family” of agents to choose from!!
Check your credit score – This can be accomplished by checking your credit and also by working with a mortgage lender who will look at to determine whether you are “creditworthy,” and thus dictates the rates you will get. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate—and that’s what you’re going for. Get a free copy of yours at AnnualCreditReport.com to see where you stand. After, checking your credit score check any credit errors (more common than you might think), so contact the credit bureau to correct any erroneous information.
Figure out how much home you can afford – Next, make sure you are clear on how much home you can afford. Check out and use a mortgage calculator that lets you determine your monthly mortgage payment, adjusting for variables such as the size of your down payment, your mortgage type, and current interest rates. You can also get an official estimate by following our next tip…
Meet with a mortgage Lender – Unless you are a cash buyer, a prospective home buyer should make one of their earliest stops with a mortgage originator to see if they can qualify for a mortgage and confirm how much of a mortgage they can afford.
Got cash? Even if you have the cash-in-hand, is buying via all cash the best financial use of your monies? Check with your financial adviser, such as your accountant or attorney and ask if there any advantages of securing a mortgage. Remember purchasing a home is an investment and you want the best return on your investment.
Secure mortgage pre-approval – Once you’ve found the mortgage that’s right for you, you’ll want to show sellers that you have what it takes to buy their home. A Pre-approval “letter” spells out exactly how much a lender has agreed to loan you, thus assuring the seller that you’re both willing and able.
Save up for a down payment – To get the best rates, you’ll need to make at least a 20% down payment on a home. More than likely, you have already been saving and have down payment monies available prior to when you start your search. If not, it’s never too early to save towards your dream home. There also may be means to secure down payments monies … so we recommend discussing with your lender if there are “other” options such as securing gift monies from an outside source.
Sound financial decisions – Once you’re ramping up to buy a home, don’t make any major changes in your life or, most important, your finances. Do not switch jobs. Do not buy a new car. Do not even buy furniture or apply for a new credit card, which could affect your credit. Just a credit pull alone from a car dealership or a furniture store may be enough to affect your credit score and could cause you to lose your dream home.
Make a wish list – Of course, this list may be a very long one, but you need to be realistic about what elements are truly “wishes” and which ones are nonnegotiable—such as number of bedrooms, a fenced yard for a pet, a specific school district, walking distance to the bus stop, etc. Sometimes it’s helpful to divide your list into three categories: Those nonnegotiable elements, followed by items that would be nice to have (e.g., a bonus room or home office) and your dream features (e.g., in-ground swimming pool).
Browse listings online – Swanson Real Estate is a great place to start to figure out what properties are available in your area in your price range. Search by price, number of bedrooms, location, and other variables to start narrowing down your options.
Schedule appointments to view homes – Contact your agent so he / she has adequate time to plan and set appointments that work for your schedule and they also may have insight that can be shared regarding homes, that you are interested in viewing. Your agents may also have other homes in mind that are similar and be able to make recommendations.
Visit open houses – Poring over online listings is one thing; seeing the properties in person is quite another. Take advantage of open houses as a low-stress way to visit several homes in one day. Map your strategy in advance, and while you’re in each home, take photos and notes so they don’t all run together in your mind. Keep in mind that your Realtor can work with you on your purchase if you happen to see a home that you can’t live without when attending an Open House and the home is listed with another office. Remember to bring your agents business cards with you!!
Check out the neighborhood – Buying your home isn’t just about the home it’s also about the neighborhood. It isn’t “just” about the home it also needs to be a home that works for your lifestyle including distance from work, schools, shopping and other daily needs.
Source includes realtor.com