Purchasing a home isn’t the easiest thing in the world. If you want the best chance of getting a home at a great price, you need to prepare in advance. Check out these 5 tips to ensure you’re ready for your new home purchase.
Get your finances in order. Your credit score should be 700-plus, your source of income should be stable, your debt-to-income ratio should be less than 45%, and you should have a big chunk of money in the bank to cover the down payment and closing costs and have some money left over.
Don’t rush it. If you are under the pressure of a big life event, recognize that you’re probably creating an artificial timeline for yourself. If you are on a deadline to move out of a rental, set up a month-to-month lease instead of racing against the clock.
Know what you want from the house itself and know what a good, reasonable deal is. Pick out specific neighborhoods and home types and analyze them in advance. Make sure you look at houses that have recently sold, not those that are currently on the market.
When you start looking at homes, consider location-related features like your commute time, the parking situation, the school district and property taxes. Know where you stand on HOA communities and factor any HOA fees into your monthly budget.
Once all these things are in order (and you’ve picked out your real estate agent and have been pre-approved for a loan), you are as ready as you’ll ever be. Keep your eyes open for a good deal, and don’t hesitate when that deal pops up.
Being pre-qualified means a lender has decided you will likely be approved for a loan up to a certain amount, based on your current financial situation.
To get pre-qualified, you simply tell a lender your level of income, assets, and debt. The lender will then take that unverified information and determine how much you will likely be approved for. There are no guarantees you will actually be approved for the same amount.
Benefits of being Pre-Qualified:
No effect on credit score
Helps you estimate what you can afford
Good for first-time home buyers
While pre-qualification is often the first step of the mortgage process, some sellers won’t take you seriously until you’ve been pre-approved.
Being pre-approved means you’ve actually been verified and approved by a lender for a specific loan amount. When pre-approved, you will receive a letter that states your approved loan amount.
Unlike getting pre-qualified, when getting pre-approved you provide documented financial information (pay stubs, statements, obligations, credit report, etc.) to be reviewed and verified by the lender.
Benefits of being Pre-Approved:
Gives you negotiation power
Helps you know exactly what you can afford
Allows you to close faster
Keep in mind that being pre-approved doesn’t guarantee you a loan. You still have to complete an application, go through the underwriting process, and wait for final approval from a lender. However, being pre-approved indicates your intent to purchase, so sellers look fondly upon buyers with pre-approval letters.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, the first thing you should do is focus on exactly what you’re looking for by establishing your priorities in the following areas.
Location: determine the neighborhood by prioritizing the importance of how close you need schools, shops, or transportation to be related to your home. Personal tastes: consider how large a home you need and also what style of architecture you prefer. Think about how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and other features that are important to you. Budget: how much home can you afford? Find out as soon as possible! Mortgage specialists can assist you with this; ask them for a pre-approved or pre-qualified letter, which will come in handy when you are ready to make an offer.
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