So, you’re thinking about buying a house. How exciting!
The fact that you’re reading up on home buying advice tells me that you’re already taking the right steps to ensure you’re well prepared and informed before heading into what could quite possibly be the biggest (and most rewarding) financial decision of your life. Way to go, keep up the good work!
Whether you’re serious about buying a home within the next couple of months, or still deciding whether you’re ready for the commitment of being a homeowner, we want to provide you with the right tools and information you need to be confident in your decision.
Here are several tips that will help make your home buying experience a successful endeavor:
Home Buying Do’s
1. Do Your Research
There are a multitude of factors involved when making the decision to buy a home. Since this is likely one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your life, it’s important to do your research ahead of time. By evaluating your budget, vetting different mortgage lenders and researching various loan programs, you’ll be confident in your choice to buy a house and your ability to make smart decisions throughout the home buying process.
Be sure to consider these 11 factors when house hunting and rank them in order of importance. Going into the house hunting process with a strong idea of what you’re looking for will help your real estate agent narrow down results so you can spend more time looking at homes that match your criteria.
When searching for a lender, it’s important to remember that rates and fees aren’t the only factors upon which you’ll want to make your decision. Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a provider that has competitive rates, a wide selection of loan options and a team of professionals that will be attentive to your needs throughout the entire process.
2. Do Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan
While buying a house is exciting and it’s tempting to start looking at homes right away, be sure to consult with a mortgage lender about getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan before you reach out to a realtor to begin the house hunting process. A letter of pre-approval will help you determine exactly how much house you can afford, and position you as a serious buyer in the eyes of real estate agents and sellers.
3. Do Get Your Prospective Home Thoroughly Inspected
After visiting several open houses, you may come across your dream home. But there is still much left to do after that, starting with getting the house inspected. A home inspection should be carried out to assess the current condition of the home and potential defects in the property. You don’t want any unforeseen hassles to deal with after the transaction is complete, so try to hire the best inspector possible. If you’re having trouble looking, your realtor can recommend a reputable company to use.
4. Do Have Documents for Lender Prepared in Advance
As soon as you find the perfect home and have your offer accepted, you can start the official process of procuring a mortgage. In order to move as quickly and efficiently as possible, be sure to prepare the financial documents you need to give the lender ahead of time. Doing this will ensure your loan can be sent to the underwriter early on in the process, and help the entire team stay on track as you approach your closing date. If you’re filling out your documents online, make sure your information is safe from cyber criminals! Detect and avoid real estate wire fraud with these tips.
5. Do Be Responsive with Your Realtor and Lender
To help them do the best work possible, try to be as quick as possible to respond to emails and phone calls from your realtor and mortgage lender, and promptly follow up with answers to questions they might have throughout the home buying process.
Home Buying Don’ts
1. Don’t Start the Process without Checking Your Credit
Some people may be very excited to buy a home, so much so that they forget to consider several important factorsthat should be evaluated before making the decision to buy a house. For starters, they might not check their credit score before talking with a mortgage lender. As a result, they may learn their score was much lower than expected.
A low credit score can raise red flags with mortgage lenders, weakening your ability to secure the interest rate you desired. If you have a dream home already in mind, you may have no choice but to delay the home buying process until you boost your credit score.
2. Don’t Forget to Budget
On their quest to buy a home, some people fail to save enough money, or overlook several hidden costs that come with the purchase, such as closing fees, a down payment and inspection costs. Failing to budget for such expenses could delay your dream of buying a house.
3. Don’t Increase Your Debt
Some people work on boosting their credit score by paying down student loan debt, but rack up other types of debt on large home-related purchases, such as new furniture and appliances. Even though they might have the means to pay them off, these large purchases can significantly increase someone’s debt-to-loan ratio, and worsen their picture of financial responsibility in the eyes of a lender.
4. Don’t Change Jobs During the Home Buying Process
Some people might – at one point during the home buying process – decide to switch careers without informing their lender. Little do they know that the mortgage approval process is dependent upon current job history (at least two years in the same line of work) and a stable source of income.
A drastic change in pay structure will raise additional red flags with your lender and create extra obstacles along your journey to homeownership.
5. Don’t Go into the Home Buying Process Alone
Enlist the help of a qualified real estate professional to help guide you through the home buying process. Not only will they be able to help you find the perfect house, they’re skilled at presenting offers and can help you navigate a potential bidding war should you find yourself competing with other buyers for the same house.
Have questions? Send us a message! We’d be happy to connect you with a lending expert on our team who can help you take the next step in your home buying journey.
Whether you plan on buying a house this summer, or a few years down the road, there’s no such thing as being too prepared. Feel free to browse our blog for more home buying tips and mortgage advice.