Buy Your First Home Like a Pro
Step One: Be Prepared
Make sure your credit score is in good shape. Pay off as much of your credit card debts as possible, pay off debts to collection agencies and have the accounts removed from your credit report, and get your free credit score. Next, gather up your last few months of bank statements, paycheck stubs, last two years of tax returns, and W-2 forms. Once this is done, reach out to a lender and see if you meet the minimum requirements to see if you are qualified for a mortgage. Once you are pre-approved, you can see how big of a loan you can have.
Step Two: Finding the right home for you
Find a real estate agent that is experienced, listens to your budget and needs, and is easy to work with. Next, figure out what you need in a house. How many bedrooms, bathrooms, size of the yard, space for different rooms, and other features you deem important should all be considered. You should also take into account the neighborhood. School districts, crime rates, demographic and friendliness of neighbors and proximity to groceries, restaurants, parks, etc. all have varying degrees of impact on both the value of the home and the happiness of the people inside it. Remember to consider not just what you want in a home now, but also what you may need in the future.
Step Three: Securing a home you can afford
Your lender will tell you the maximum loan you are qualified to take out, however this should not be the budget for your home. Consider monthly expenses, appliances, furniture, renovations that need to be made to the house before even touring your first open house. When you start negotiations, stick to a strict budget. It is easy to fall in love with a house and want to pay the list price on the spot. Work with your realtor, talk the price down, and be okay with walking away and looking at other houses.
Step Four: Find the loan that is best for you by meeting with your Mortgage Loan Officer
There are dozens of different types of loans that suit the needs of different people. These mortgage loans vary in length, interest rates, payments, and more. Sharing your situation and plans with your lender can allow them to help you find the perfect loan for you.