You’ve saved up money to go toward a down payment and you’ve decided it’s time to buy a home! Congratulations!! This is such an exciting time, but can also be stressful if you are not prepared! You can help to make it a smooth process by following these 4 essential steps prior to beginning your home search! Putting in the time now will make the homebuying process all that more enjoyable for everyone!
- Know your credit score and the details of your credit report. This is important to check so that there are no surprises or disappointments. Be sure that all the info in your report is accurate! Consider fixing any blemishes that appear. Although this may take some time, it’s best to do this now so that you can qualify for a better finance rate.
- Research and choose a mortgage lender. You should start working with an agent to get prequalified and to find out how much house you can afford. Know your mortgage options and ask questions so that you fully understand these options. Once you decide which mortgage is right for you, provide your mortgage lender with all the required documents to receive a preapproval.
- Find a real estate agent to work with you. If you don’t already have someone in mind, ask local family and friends for referrals. Make sure the real estate agent you choose is knowledgeable of the area and market trends. Also, be sure he/she is someone you are comfortable with…you will be sharing a lot of info with your agent and will be spending a lot of time with him/her. Honesty, professionalism and trustworthiness are invaluable qualities in a real estate agent.
- Work with your real estate agent to put together your dream home wish list. Provide your real estate agent with your preapproval and desired price range. Decide which features are needs vs. wants and understand that some of these items are likely to change over the course of your home search. Be sure to communicate openly with your agent so that he/she has the best and most accurate information to start guiding your search.
Now you are ready to start your home search! Begin by browsing listings online. When you find a house that fits within your budget, as well as your wish list search criteria, take a drive by the house and check out the neighborhood. If at this point, you are interested in seeing the inside of the home, contact your real estate agent to schedule a showing. Your agent will also send you listings to browse that match the information you provided. Do the same with any listings that your agent sends to you.
Remember to be patient, it may take seeing a few homes before you find the right one! This is a major decision that you do not want to rush into; however, if you follow the above steps, once you do find your dream home, you will be completely prepared and ready to make an offer!
Happy House Hunting!