As a home buyer, jumping straight to picking out a home can cause some difficulties both financially and emotionally. It is important to follow the complete process of preparing to buy a home in order to avoid any problems down the road. Read below to find out the six things you should do before you ever set foot in a home.
1. Get Your Credit In Order
A good credit score is an essential part of the home buying process. A poor credit score can lead to a higher interest rate, which furthermore can lead to a higher monthly payment. Dings on your credit, for example, an old debt that’s been turned over to a collection agency, or a high credit card balance, can even prevent you from buying a home.
Before you start house hunting, pull your credit report and address any problems that are dragging down your score.
2. Get Pre-Approved
Before you begin to travel to look inside of a home you should search for a reputable lender as soon as possible to get a pre-approval. This is not a simple pre-qualification; a pre-approval uncovers exactly how much house you can afford and is an essential component of a successful offer letter. It is important to keep in mind that your offer means nothing to a home buyer without showing a pre-approval letter.
If you don’t have a lender yet, reach out to your current real estate agent. This agent can recommend local lenders, or you can seek out recommendations from other homeowners. Once you have settled on a lender that you like, have the lender review your finances thoroughly to point out any concerns. The Raines Group works with several experienced lenders in the Central Ohio area.
3. Make A List Of Your Must-Haves
When you start browsing for home listings, you probably have specific locations and ideas in mind. Here are some things that you should make a list of. Do you want a house or a condominium? What is the school district that you want to live in? If you are planning to have kids then you will need a specific number of bedrooms. What is the city where you want your home to be located? Do you want a finished basement? Do you prefer a first floor owner suite?
If you have a prepared list when you go to the first home with your agent, you will be less likely to make impulsive decisions and fall in love with a house that doesn’t fit your needs.
4. Review A Residential Purchase Agreement.
There is a lot of paperwork involved in the home buying and selling process. You should always understand what you are about to sign before you are put under pressure at the last minute. There are sample residential purchase agreements that you can read over with your agent before you go to sign on a house. The home buying process especially, can go very quickly and the buyers often sign all of the paperwork without asking many questions about what they are signing.
For example, if you are selling and buying simultaneously, you might want to include a home sale contingency, which makes the purchase dependent on successfully selling your own home. Or you might include an inspection contingency, so that you’ll have the option to back out if serious flaws are uncovered.
5. Prepare To Be Flexible
There are many highs and lows that come with the home buying process. You might find the perfect home online that fits your needs, but then when you go to tour the inside there are more repairs needed than expected. Or you may find yourself having to move to a location further than what you want due to a job. Try to be flexible because you may fall in love with a place that you never thought you would even consider.
6. Fill Your Cash Reserves
When you are saving up for your down payment on a house, you should also be saving up for an emergency fund too. Having this money saved up before you start your home search will help make the loan process go more smoothly. Be sure to not set foot in a home without preparing yourself emotionally and financially. Once you lay out all of the proper groundwork you will be guaranteed good decisions and a home that you will love
If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, call us today at 614.855.8700!