The processing of buying a home can seem overwhelming, whether it’s your first or fifth home buying experience. It’s important to understand each step of the process, and to prepare before ever viewing properties. This will save you and your real estate agent much time and headache. With so many rules, regulations, and requirements, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything while searching for a place to call home. To help your home buying process go smoothly, following are ways to prepare for the home buying experience.
Save up enough money.
Most first-time home buyers focus on saving money for the down payment. But do you have any extra savings available to cover other costs? You can’t forget about closing costs and property taxes. In fact, professionals typically recommend that new homebuyers have enough saved to cover two or three months of mortgage payments. In addition to the costs associated with the actual purchase, you may be in for a shock when it comes time to actually fill your house. If this is your first real place, you may be starting from scratch. This means that you will need furniture, home accessories, kitchen essentials, sheets, towels, and more. By saving up a little more money, buying all of these essentials will be more enjoyable instead of just painful to your bank account.
Get preapproved for a loan.
You may have an idea of what you think you can afford, but your opinion doesn’t hold much credibility in the real estate world. Getting a preapproval letter from a lender will let the seller know that you are serious about buying and that you are able to afford the property. Sellers may be more hesitant to deal with you until they can guarantee that you are actually a potential buyer. Your real estate agent will appreciate this too, as it helps both make the best use of time.
Check your credit score.
Did you know that approximately 42 million credit reports have errors? And you could easily be one of these people. Go ahead and check your credit score, preferably a few months before you are trying to buy. If there are errors that are negatively impacting your credit score, this will give you plenty of time to get things cleared up and corrected.
Hire a Buyer Agent – It’s free to you.
Choose a trusted real estate agent to represent you in price and term negotiations. There’s no cost to you, as commission is paid by the seller. Check out our Buying a Home page and Agent page.
Determine the Demographics.
Ask yourself (and any other occupants) what’s most important in a home, and present these to your Realtor®. Your Realtor® will send you listings based on your responses. Questions you can ask yourself: Where do I want to live? What features are must-haves in a property? What property type do I prefer? How many bedrooms and bathrooms at minimum? What is the Minimum and maximum square footage? What is my pre-approval amount? Does age of the home matter? What features am I willing to compromise on for other key features? What community features are important? What are deal makers vs. the deal breakers?
Dream. Visualize. Realize.
This is an exciting time – it’s a new place to call home! Keep in mind what you are looking for, and continually communicate with your Realtor®. Be open to properties with the potential to turn them into your dream home. Be realistic about what you can afford, remembering that taxes, insurance, and interest are generally added to the monthly payment. If the community is in a homeowners, consider the assessments in budgeting.
Get Ready and Keep in Contact.
Your buyer’s agent will be with you every step of the way to help navigate the flurry of paperwork, inspection schedules, and negotiations. Keep in contact with your agent, and heed the agent’s real estate guidance to help you make an informed decision. A Realtor® can save you lots of money and headache on your way to home ownership.
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