You’ve made up your mind. You are ready to become a home owner. Awesome! We are so excited for you! However, as with any significant goal in life, there are a few requisite steps to take before you reach that goal. We have prepared an easy punch list for you to follow. As experienced real estate agents with your best interests in mind, consider this your one-stop shop for all the professional advice you need to help you find your way home.
Action Item #1: Find a real estate agent. Sure, you can tackle this on your own, but you might spend countless hours looking at homes that might not even be within your price range. Remember! You don’t have to pay a dime as a buyer to partner with an experienced agent when looking at homes. This advice comes enthusiastically, honestly and above all, FREE. So, go ahead…take advantage of us here. We love it!
Action Item #2: Have a conversation with a mortgage lender. This may sound intimidating, but it is important to meet with one in order to get pre-approved for a home loan. To keep things organized, prepare a file to take to your meeting that includes bank statements pay stubs, W-2 forms, 1099 forms and tax returns. If the lender offers you pre-approval, you can expect to receive an estimate as to the size of loan for which you would quality and the approximate interest rate you’d receive.
Action Item #3: If your credit needs improvement, it’s time to get it into shape. We get it. Sometimes looking at that number can make you sweat, but it’s a necessary part of the game plan. An 850 credit score is ideal, but anything at 760 or above is usually smiled upon. Translation? You qualify for the more competitive interest rates! (But don’t fret if your credit score falls below 760. There are things you can do to improve it. It just may mean being patient a bit longer when it comes to finding that new home of yours.)
Action Item #4: Decide where you want to live. This is where you bring together the elements of your lifestyle – proximity to work, family and friends; area schools, shopping and other amenities.
Action Item #5: Keep your credit protected and in loan approval-worthy form. Put the brakes on your desire to buy a new car or take on any new debt. Focus on staying current with all other debt payments. Yes, you have that pre-approval in hand, but bear in mind that is not usually final until a few days before closing.