Buying a home isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. When it comes to buying a house, you’ll need to rearrange your priorities to achieve this goal. This means you’ll need to say no to frivolous purchases and dedicate yourself to delayed gratification and self-discipline during the process. Here is a list of 7 things you must prioritize when buying a house.
- How Much Can You Afford?
You may want that brand new car or that new fancy gadget, but you need to remember to prioritize your house affordability when you’re in the market to buy. Adding on any additional debt to your already accounted for debt could lead to not getting approved for a mortgage. Many lenders want you to have a good debt-to-income ratio, and if your debt exceeds your income, it reduces your chances of getting approved. Keeping this in mind, do what you can to pay down your current debts until you need to apply for that mortgage. Also, keep in mind that just because you qualify for a certain amount doesn’t mean that you can afford it.
- Saving for a Down Payment
How much are you willing to put down on a house? How much can you afford to put down? These are two questions you should ask yourself before seeking out a realtor or meeting with a loan officer. You may not be able to afford the full 20 percent down at one time, but are you able to afford an additional monthly fee on top of everything else with a house? When you have a bigger down payment, you’re able to avoid the private mortgage insurance (PMI) that is a part of your closing fees when you choose a home. Other benefits could include smaller monthly mortgage payments, lower fees, the ability to cash in on low-interest rates, and a better chance to stand out from other buyers.
- Location Is Also Important
Neighborhood, neighborhood, neighborhood –– this part of home buying is so important. Why? Because you can’t move your house if you don’t love your neighborhood or have a feud with a neighbor. More than that, other factors come into play: crime rate, proximity to your job and entertainment venues, the quality of schools in the area, and the demographics of the area you want to live in. When looking around at listings, drive around the neighborhoods that stick out to you and drive through them at varying times of the day and different days of the week to see how busy it is, if neighbors enjoy being out front, etc. You can even stop and talk to someone you see in the neighborhood if you feel comfortable enough to do so. These factors can give insight that realtors can’t always give you.
- Consider The Amenities You Want in a Home
You may know that you want those hardwood floors in a master bedroom, but maybe you had never considered a laundry shoot after seeing one in a house you toured. While you could easily write down what you look for and want in a house, you never truly know until you start touring homes. The amenities you want and need in a home is definitely something you should think about during the home buying process.
- Clean Up Your Credit
Remember that your credit follows you everywhere, and it’s very important in the home buying process. Since lenders review your credit history as part of the application process, you want to make sure that your credit is in shape. You can obtain your credit report from a variety of credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. As mentioned in step 2, paying off debts will help improve your credit which can help you get a better mortgage rate. When searching for a new home, don’t open new credit accounts because this might not look good to lenders. Obtaining your credit score will also go a long way in ensuring that you will get the approval you need.
- Get Pre-Qualified by the Lender
Making sure you are pre-qualified with a lender before starting the home search will save you a lot of time and headaches. When you receive a Pre-Qualification letter from the lender, it shows your realtor and the seller that you’re serious about buying a house. To obtain this letter, you will need tax returns from the past two years, recent paycheck stubs, W2 forms, proof of down payment, and bank statements. To start this process, reach out to one of our expert local Loan Officers to go over anything further you may need. They can also go over various loan options that may be available to you specifically.
- Find a Good Realtor
Having a good realtor by your side is beneficial for so many reasons. Having a realtor who is reliable and who will focus primarily on your needs and interests during the process will ensure your home buying process goes as smoothly as it should. The best realtor will also have an understanding of the current market as well as the neighborhood you’re interested in. If you ever need a reference for a realtor, let us know and we can help!