Ready to take the plunge into homeownership? Before you go head first into your house hunt, there are a few critical actions you should take to prepare yourself. From getting your finances in order to select what style of property you want, you’ll need to get these issues out of the way before you start your search.
Prepare Your Finances
Check Your Credit Score
When it comes to financial planning, your credit score is at the top of the list. Lenders evaluate your credit score to estimate how capable you are of repaying a mortgage. If your credit falls below a specific number, you may struggle to qualify for a loan. Not only that, but your score will have a direct impact on your loan rate. Higher credit ratings mean reduced rates and payments.
Down Payment Savings
Most house buyers need a down payment. Although there are zero-down lending programs, most purchasers put 20% down. We propose 10% down. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be required until you have 20% equity in your house. Loan guidelines vary frequently. Before estimating your down payment, consult a loan specialist.
Assess how much you have saved for a down payment before emptying your savings or retirement accounts. Keep these funds for emergencies and retirement. Keep saving if you need a down payment. Invest in high-yield savings or money market accounts. So, your money will grow as you save.
Before looking for a lender, acquire the necessary documents. When you meet with mortgage lenders, they’ll demand proof of your income and loan repayment ability. Paystubs, tax returns, W-2s, and bank statements. Avoid surprises. Before looking for a lender, have these items ready.
Find A Realtor And Mortgage
When buying a property, know how much you can afford. Consider your down payment, interest rate, monthly expenses, and debt-to-income ratio.
Most lenders follow 28/36. It says your monthly spending shouldn’t exceed 28% of your overall monthly revenue. Mortgage principal, interest, taxes, and insurance are monthly expenses.
Select A Realtor
Choose a real estate agent with these attributes when buying a home. Ask yourself:
- Do they understand your needs?
- Do they know the area?
- Do they have the tools to know when a house is listed (or before)?
A qualified agent can help you through your house search.
Credit unions, commercial banks, local banks, and others are potential lenders. Before being pre-approved for a loan, compare quotations from several lenders. While the lowest rate is vital, you should also evaluate fees, terms, communication preferences, and approachability.
Pre-qualification and pre-approval are often used interchangeably while researching lenders, but there is a distinction. Neither guarantees a mortgage.
A lender reviews your income, assets, and debt to see if you match their lending guidelines during pre-qualification. This information helps the lender and can help you determine your mortgage amount.
Determine Home Needs And Wants
Wants Vs. Needs
Once pre-approved, you’ll know what kind of home you can afford. Before looking, list your needs and wants.
Start by listing your must-have home attributes. Then, decide if each feature is a must-have or a nice-to-have. Four bedrooms or two? Gas or electric stove?
Once you know your priorities, identify neighborhoods to target. If you’re not set on a specific neighborhood, imagine your ideal one. Do you want to be downtown or outside? Do you prefer a close-knit or distant community?
Keep an open mind while knowing what you want. You may have to make concessions when searching for your dream home.