by Jeremy Kushner
Going through the home buying process for the first time can be exciting and scary all at once. There are countless ways the process can go horribly wrong.
If you prepare yourself ahead of time and know what to expect you can have a much smoother experience. Here are a few pointers on what you can do before and during your search for a house to help make your home buying process go more smoothly.
Know where you stand by getting a copy of your credit report. You should check this for any errors or omissions that would improve your score. If you find any errors, challenge them and work to get them corrected. Cleaning up your credit can be the most time consuming element of getting ready to get qualified for a loan.
Once you have your credit in order, you need to determine how much you can afford. What do you pay for rent? Is this an easy payment for you to make? Keep in mind that you will also be paying property taxes and homeowners insurance, costs that you don’t currently have. This should factor in to your affordability determination.
You will need to have some money set aside for a down payment, appraisals, inspections and closing costs. The standard rule of thumb is to have 20% of the buying price for a down payment and then a few thousand extra for all the other costs and fees involved. You also need to consider carefully what home improvements will need doing, as this can eat into your spare available cash very quickly!.
Work with your bank or another lending institution to get yourself pre-qualified for a loan. Searching for a home without this vital information will make you less attractive to the sellers. Be absolutely certain how much you are qualified to borrow and what the fees will be associated with your particular loan.
Where do you want to live? Are there areas of town that you know for sure you would like to try to get into, or better yet, areas you know for sure you want to avoid? If you have children or will be having children, keep the school systems in mind as well. This will give your real estate agent a starting point for places to recommend to you.
Unless you know of a real estate agent that you would like to use for personal reasons, interview a few different candidates. This is a person you will be working with very closely, so it should be someone you have a rapport with, as well as someone who you feel comfortable talking to. Once you have an agent selected, you can begin the process of searching for and touring different homes in your price range.
Buying a home is a big deal. If you take the time to get all the important elements lined up before you start the home search, you will have a much easier time and avoid have to scramble to make the deal happen. If you take the advice and steps to heart that you just read, then buying a home should be something that you look back on as a joyful experience!