6 Things to Do Before Buying a Home
So you’re finally ready to get serious and buy a house — chalk it up to the amazing spring weather, or maybe a precious bun baking in the oven, or that much anticipated promotion at work. Whatever the reason, you feel primed to start poring over listings and spending your weekends open-house hopping. That is very Exciting!
Yet while you might feel prepared for this next giant step, just remember — there’s a lot of planning and prep work that goes into this purchase, even before you start to look at homes. So make sure you’ve got all your mallards in a row first!
Use this checklist to figure out if there are any things you may have missed:
1. Crunch your numbers
First, ask yourself not if you’re ready emotionally — because it sounds like you are — but ready financially. Look at your income, desired location, and other factors to see if your expectations jive with reality. Good luck!
2. Know your credit score
Your mortgage’s interest rate — and, as a result, the size of your monthly payments — will be directly related to your credit or FICO score, essentially a summary of how reliably you’ve been paying off your debts.
If you’ve had too many problems or late payments leading up to the purchase of a home, your score could be lower, and you might get a higher mortgage rate. Many major lenders require a score of at least 620 for a mortgage, but if you find out you’re below that or want to boost your score, now is the time to get started, since it can take months to take effect.
3. Amass a down payment
Most mortgage lenders require a cash down payment of 5% to 20% of the price of a home. If you don’t have this kind of cash lying around, it’s high time to start a saving goal for the next few months. You can start by putting off buying any big-ticket items, fancy vacations or other extravagances. This is a new home we’re talking about, remember?
4. Hire a REALTOR®
Hiring a REALTOR® means that you put an expert to work searching for your home. That person will find out what you are looking for and match properties to that list. This alone will keep you from looking at tons of homes that are way off the mark. They also know all about the process and will take you through the offer, the contract to close and everything in between.
5. Go mortgage shopping
In the same way you wouldn’t buy the first house you set foot in, you shouldn’t commit to the very first mortgage you meet, either.
Mortgages are not one-size-fits-all Find a lender you trust and discuss your financial situation. A lender will then help buyers understand what financing options are available.
6. Ballpark your closing costs
Buyers sometimes forget, amid their scramble to make a down payment and monthly mortgage fees, that that’s not everything they need to pay for. Another sizable chunk are closing costs, and they’re no small chunk of change, ranging from 3% to 6% of the purchase price thanks to taxes, transfer fees, and other expenses. So, make sure to budget for this expense too, just so you aren’t blindsided come closing time.
Contact us today and we can help get you started!