Preparing to Buy a House
Check your Credit Score
Your credit score can easily be checked for free online from various sites. When you get the report, check it very carefully for accuracy. In today’s day and age, you may get a surprise or two if you haven’t checked in awhile. When applying for a loan; most home buyers are in the 680-739 range but above 740 seems to be the strike point for premium rates. If you’re below 680, there are ways to improve that number. To get a jump on it, simply Google…”how to improve my credit score.” but more importantly talk with an experienced lender and/or financial advisor. Any percentage you can shave off the interest rate will save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
Seek out a Lender
Start talking to lenders. Finding a good mortgage lender is very important; it’ll be worth your effort. Start with a local mortgage specialists. Whatever your annual income or whether you have a small or large down payment, they should have a variety of loan programs that will prove beneficial for you. Wherever you go, be prepared with all your paperwork (tax returns, W-2”s, paycheck stubs, etc…) and ask a lot of questions and compare rates.
Increase your leverage and chances of getting the home you love by making an offer with a solid preapproval letter. When you make an offer, it will definitely work to your advantage to have one. You are telling the seller that you have the money and you’re in a capable position to buy their home right now. But what about a prequalification letter? Prequal letters can be a quick starting point but the preapproval letter is your golden ticket. Your lender will walk you through all the necessary steps to get one. You’ll be glad you did.
Find an agent
Once the financials are in place, and you know exactly what you can afford, you need an advocate. If you haven’t already, get yourself a realtor that will help you find a home. A good realtor will consistently, quickly and efficiently communicate with you. In today’s world, things move fast. Real estate is no exception. There are reports, inspections and documents with the transaction. You’re interests have to be protected and we need to pay attention to detail. While the old axiom for real estate is location, location, location – a good axiom for agents is listen, listen, listen.
There are a variety of levels when it comes to purchasing a home. While the above is a brief overview, it will start you down the path for home ownership. Start saving though! Cash is King and will give you great peace of mind and put you in a position of strength (leverage) in the search and negotiating process.