Once you have made the decision to purchase a home, you may wonder what are the next steps needed to make this life-changing decision a reality. To assist you with this effort, here some helpful tips to simplify the process and make this an enjoyable experience.
Check Your Credit Scores / Reports
It’s important for you to know your credit score and verify the accuracy of your credit reports, preferably from all three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Having your current credit reports available will provide you with an opportunity to dispute and correct inaccurate information. In addition, knowing your current credit scores will allow you to take steps, if needed, to improve your credit scores prior to beginning the pre-approval process and ultimately applying for a home loan.
Save For A Down Payment
There are many different options when it comes to obtaining a mortgage, but all will require some form of a down payment. Take the time to speak with potential lenders, to understand the loan programs available as well as the associated minimum down payment requirements.
After selecting a lending institution, work with them to obtain a pre-approval letter. This is a valuable tool in the home buying process, as it provides you with the maximum allowable loan amount and assures sellers that any offers you make are backed by a pre-approval letter.
Interview & Select a Real Estate Agent
Whether you are a local resident or new to the area, you want to make sure your real estate agent understands your wants and needs. Go into each interview / meeting with a list of questions to ask the agent. These questions should include topics such as knowledge of the local market conditions, years of real estate experience, and familiarity with the local areas, including school options, retail establishments, and dining / entertainment options.
Start Home Shopping
Once you have completed the above steps, you are ready to begin searching for suitable homes. Take your time to view multiple homes in your preferred neighborhoods, and be sure to complete follow-up showings for the finalist properties, as it is common to overlook certain areas on an initial walk-through. Once you have made final decision, work with your real estate agent to research comparable properties, which will assist in developing the formal offer.