Ready to purchase your first home? Though the process may seem overwhelming, knowing where to start is half the battle. Follow these five tips to help ease your stress and prepare for a smooth home buying experience.
- Clean Up Your Credit Score
Having good credit is one of the most important factors when qualifying for a loan. Depending on where your score stands, it may take six months to a year to improve your credit. Although scoring requirements vary from lender to lender and there is no magic number that qualifies you to purchase a home, a low score could mean higher interest rates and fewer mortgage options. Check your credit early and make a financial plan to increase your number. A mortgage professional can pull your credit for you and create a plan to improve your score.
- Evaluate Your Monthly Cash Flow
It’s important to understand what your assets and liabilities are before considering purchasing your home. What is your current debt? What is your monthly income versus monthly expenses? Do you have a considerable amount of money to put away at the end of each month or are you on a shoestring budget? Take a couple months to track your cash flow to see where your money is going, and if affording a home is feasible.
- Have your Finances In Order
Lenders evaluate your debt-to-income ratio to see if you’re qualified for a loan. If you have too much debt in relation to your monthly income, you might have trouble qualifying. Your mortgage payment cannot exceed 31% of the gross effective income. And the total recurring monthly obligations cannot exceed 43% of the gross effective income. Before shopping for a home make sure you understand what you can realistically afford, have a down payment ready (Can vary depending on the type of financing. Can be anywhere from 0% – 20% down), and are preapproved.
- Define Exactly What You Want/Need in a Home
Consider what your lifestyle currently is and what you plan it to be in the future. Will this be a starter home or somewhere you would like to put down roots and raise a family? Will you need an extra bedroom or two full bathrooms? Is garage space important to you or a large kitchen? Consider the neighborhoods and communities where you would like to live. Do research on the schools in the area or accessibility to local amenities. How far are you willing to commute? Take some time to write a must-have list for features the home needs fit into your life and a wish list for things you want, but could live without.
- Find a Savvy REALTOR®
If you’re mulling over the idea of purchasing a home, it’s helpful to speak to a REALTOR® first. Hiring a knowledgeable REALTOR® you can trust is the best way to ensure you’re making informed decisions throughout the process. As experts in the real estate market, agents are able to provide advice and planning tips that inexperienced buyers may overlook.
Ready to get started? Find the right REALTOR® to fit your needs here: https://www.homesale.com/getagent/