Chances are, the roof over your head is the single biggest and most important purchase you will ever make, and certainly the most expensive. Whether you are a young couple looking for their starter home or a recent retiree ready to downsize and find something more appropriate, you should approach the home buying process with the seriousness it deserves. Buying a home is not like buying any other product. For one thing, you could be living with the consequences of your choice for the next 30 years, the amount of time it will take you to pay off the mortgage. For another thing, the average price of a new home is well into the six figures, so you will be putting a great deal of your own money on the line. Before you can find the home of your dreams, you need to prepare yourself, and your bank account. Here are some tips to get you started.
Before you call a real estate agent or attend a single open house, you need to make sure lenders will like what they see when they look at your credit. If you already know your credit score, you are one step ahead of the process. If not, finding that score should be your first course of action. You can download it for free from any of the major creditors. Once you know your credit score, there are things you can do to improve your standing. From paying down debt to reducing your credit card use, the actions you take now can make buying a home easier.
With your credit as good as it can be, it is time to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Unless you are independently wealthy, buying a home will mean taking out a mortgage, and getting pre-approved will give you one less thing to worry about. A pre-approval letter can also give you extra negotiating power when it comes time to make an offer. When fielding multiple offers, the seller may gravitate to the one with the guaranteed financing, and that can be good news for you.
Finding a real estate agent you can trust will also factor heavily into your success, so seek out a professional who understands the neighborhood where you want to live. Focusing on neighborhood expertise is very important since buying into an up-and-coming location can give you additional appreciation down the line. Denver real estate attorney, Don Eby says having an agent with law experience can help you make a more informed decision as well.
Last but not least, you need to protect yourself with the right advice. Before the offer has been made and accepted, it is important to have a professional review the paperwork. Hiring an attorney to review the contract and other documents is an essential part of the home buying process, and one that will make your life easier now and for 30 years to come.
Make sure you know how to make your first home purchase and do the simple tips here to make the whole thing a little more manageable.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her at Twitter @eileenoshanassy.