Buying a home can be a frustrating journey full of pitfalls and unexpected expenses. Here are some important things to keep in mind that should ease your path.
Check your credit report and score. Unless you are paying cash for your home, your credit can make or break you. Check to make sure that any reported accounts were opened by you and not by someone who has stolen your identity. If you dispute some delinquent charges, now is the time to act. Get the report cleaned up.
Talk to a loan officer. Your credit score will partially determine the type of loan that is available to you. If your score is too low to qualify for a mortgage, the loan officer can suggest ways that you might increase it.
Save your Money. Buying a home is an expensive endeavor. You’ll need to pay for:
- home inspection,
- property appraisal,
- down payment (20% of purchase price if you’re buying a condo in South Florida),
- one year of homeowner’s insurance in advance,
- lender’s fees,
- enough money in the bank to cover 2 months of mortgage payments.
Narrow your choices. After you visit the loan officer and receive a suggested maximum purchase price, search on a real estate website for neighborhoods in that price range. Drive around and see what appeals to you.
Re-visit the loan officer. When you have completed the 4 previous steps, go back to your loan officer and request a preapproval letter. You’ll need to bring the following documents:
- 2 years of tax returns
- 3 months of bank or brokerage statements
- Last paystub
Select a Realtor. Try to find an individual who has the experience to help you through the minefields. Word of mouth, yard signs in the neighborhoods that appeal to you, and websites that caught your eye are all good ways of finding someone to help you.
I hope these tips help you to find the perfect home for you.