Buying a Home

It's the American dream - home ownership.  Whether your first house or your fifth, buying a home can be a daunting experience.  The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way.  Below are seven (7) helpful steps to help you overcome apprehension toward buying a home.

1.  Determine your Home Buying Budget
Before you set out on your journey to find your dream home, do a reality check.  What can you comfortably afford to spend on your home?  Start with your monthly take home pay then subtract out your monthly living expenses (utilities, cable, telephone, etc.) and your fixed monthly payments like your car loan or credit card payments.  This will give you a good feel for an affordable monthly payment amount before you start talking to mortgage lenders. Our calculators will help you decide how the monthly payment translates into a mortgage loan amount.

2.  Pre-qualify for a Loan
By getting pre-qualified for your mortgage you will have a better picture of how much home you can qualify for and that will help you focus your house hunting.  Being pre-qualified can also demonstrate to a seller that you're serious and ready to buy.  Your final mortgage application will go faster since you've already provided much of your information.

To pre-qualify most lenders will need:

  • General idea of the type of home and approximate price
  • Type of loan you want
  • How much down payment you plan to make
  • Personal information (name, phone number, address, date of birth)
  • Employment history
  • Social Security number
  • Financial information (monthly income, current debts, assets)

3.  Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Even for a seasoned home buyer, the home buying process is made much easier when you choose to work with a professional agent. Despite how many tips on buying a home anyone could share with you, nothing can take the place of professional, one-on-one guidance.

4.  Review Your Credit
Review both your credit report and your credit score.  Should you find areas on your credit report which need to be corrected, do that now.  It takes time.  You don't want to be in the middle of the loan approval process and then discover a problem that shouldn't be there.  Naturally, the better your report and the higher your credit score, the easier the mortgage approval process will be.  

5.  Understand Your Mortgage Options
Learn about the various types of mortgage loans. By understanding the different home loan options available to you, you'll be better able to choose the right one.

6.  Getting a Home Inspection
A lot of home buyers ask the question, "Do I really need a home inspection?" The answer is yes, you should always have a home inspection prior to purchasing, especially if you're a first-time buyer.

7.  Preparing for Settlement
The settlement (or closing) process is the final step in the overall home-buying process. It's when you sign all of the final documents, settle things financially, and get the keys to your new house.  Be sure to read everything, and if you have any questions, just ask.

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