Buying a home is a big decision, possibly the biggest one you make. It’s very important to choose the right real estate professional. Choose an agent who specializes in the type of real estate you’re looking to buy and who has specific knowledge of the local real estate market. Doing some preliminary planning prior to beginning your home search will make the entire process less overwhelming and more manageable.
Check your Credit Rating
Regardless of whether you think you have great credit, it’s always a smart idea to double-check as soon as you decide to buy a home. The sooner you know where your credit stands, the sooner you can straighten out any errors there may be which will avoid holdups down the road when you’re waiting to be approved for your mortgage.
TIP - Avoid making any major purchases with your credit while you’re waiting to apply for a mortgage. Even if you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, that approval is subject to last-minute evaluation of your financial situation, and deciding to buy things like appliances, furniture, or a car could ruin your chances of buying your dream home.
Know What You're Looking For
To avoid buyer’s remorse, you need to figure out exactly what features you need, want, and don’t want in a home. Before starting your search you should make a wish list to decide which features are absolutely essential, which would be nice to have, and what features you don’t want. Share this wishlist with your real estate agent so that you are all on the same page. The more specific you can be about what you’re looking for from the outset, the more effective your home search will be. It’s also important to keep in mind that whatever home you find, every home purchase is a compromise.
The internet is a great resource and the best way to search for homes. Register with us to receive daily emails when new listings get added or when existing listings get updated. View full listing sheets showing the lot size, beds, baths, rooms, siding, fireplaces, and amenities to know what to expect if you decide to view a home in person so there aren’t any huge surprises. Check schools and community profiles of your preferred towns to ensure it will be a good fit for your needs and wants.
Pre-Qualify or get Pre-Approved on a Mortgage
A real estate professional can help “pre-qualify” you for a mortgage before starting your house search. This process analyzes your income, assets, and debt to estimate what you may be able to afford on a home. Mortgage lenders or brokers can also calculate the same sort of informal estimate.
Being “pre-approved” for a mortgage means you have a lender’s written commitment to put together a loan for you. Pre-approval makes you a stronger buyer and more appealing to sellers. Pre-approval speeds up the entire mortgage process once you find the home you wish to buy. The only question that remains once you are pre-approved will be whether the house will be appraised for enough to warrant the loan.
Get a Home Inspection from a Reputable Inspector
Once you make an offer on a home you will need to schedule a home inspection with an authorized, independent inspector. Hiring a reputable inspector so that you know exactly what you are buying. Choosing the wrong inspector can be a horribly expensive mistake. Friends, family, coworkers, and your real estate professional are all great resources for finding a reputable inspector. If the inspector finds problems with the property, it gives you a reason to negotiate with the seller to lower the price or pay for certain repairs.
Get an Appraisal
Your lender may require that an appraisal is done on the home you are looking to purchase to make sure it is worth the money that you are borrowing.
Purchase Homeowners Insurance
Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance. This is to protect both your own interests as well as their assets. Be sure to ask around and do some research before choosing a plan that works for you and your home.