Looking to purchase your first home in 2018? If this year is the one in which you make the huge leap into home ownership, you can utilize the following tips to ensure your successful in choosing a home and obtaining a mortgage.
Finding A Home
- Before you begin searching for a home make sure you obtain pre-approval. This will give you an idea of what your actual budget will be.
- Create a helpful list prior to your search. If you are a couple, sit down together. Write down the things you absolutely must have in your home, and those things you would like but are willing to do without.
- If you aren’t familiar with a neighborhood do a drive by at the busiest points of the week – such as a Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, or any day during rush hour. This will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of safety, busyness, and general life were you to choose that neighborhood.
- Remember that asking prices are not definite. Many sellers are willing to take a little less, especially if the home has been on the market for a while. You may not get a $400K home for $75K, but you may be able to get it for $350K.
Obtaining A Mortgage
- Have all of your paperwork gathered ahead of time. Make copies and place them in a folder for both the pre-approval and actual mortgage process. Paperwork should include your previous year’s taxes, at least three months of paystubs, photo ID, birth certificates, social security cards, and proof of income from any other sources.
- Talk to your real estate agent about which programs you may qualify for. Many government-funded programs are available to help those with low credit, first time home buyers, or allow for lower down payments.
- Ask your mortgage company whether there are fees for paying off your loan early or making early payments. If possible, opt for the one which does not penalize you. Paying off your mortgage as early as possible is always a promising idea.
- Stay educated on trends in the real estate industry – especially on the rise or fall of interest rates. This can help you make an informed decision on when to purchase.
- Know that home prices are on the rise, so keep an eye out for great bargains.
- Consider paying full asking price but asking if a seller will handle closing costs if you don’t have a lot of cash on hand.
- Work with a real estate agent. These professionals are invaluable when it comes to finding a home, obtaining a mortgage, and can even be useful after.
- Don’t become discouraged. Finding a home and getting approved both take longer than ever. You’ll face steep competition in getting a home, thanks to market shortages. If you can’t currently get approved for a mortgage, work on improving your credit score and saving a larger cash payment to increase your chances.
The above tips can (and should) be utilized as part of your journey into home ownership. Good luck on finding the perfect home with the best possible mortgage.