If you’ve gotten yourself worked into an excited frenzy looking at the homes for sale in your area, congratulations! You’re ready to take that step into ownership that is one of the most satisfying things a person can do. That said, there is more to buying a house than just plunking down some money and moving in. The best purchases are always done with a cautious mind, and, for most people, a house is the most expensive purchase they will ever make. That means that your caution should be double. Here are five things a buyer should do before moving forward.
Your Credit Report
It pays to take a close look at your credit report before you start looking into homes for sale. It is this credit report that lenders will rely on to make a decision as to your terms. The higher your score, the less interest you’re going to pay on the loan, which can mean a savings of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. Check your report and make sure there’s nothing on it that shouldn’t be.
Just because a bank tells you that they will lend you $200,000, that doesn’t mean that you should necessarily start looking for homes for sale at that price. You may qualify for a loan much larger than you can reasonably afford in the long run. Don’t make a decision based on your maximum capabilities. There’s nothing wrong, after all, with having some money left over at the end of the month. Never, ever make a financial decision based on what you hope to be making in a few years. Things can change quickly.
Save Your Money
While this has started to change over the last few years, most people could historically expect to pay more on their mortgage payment than they did in rent. If this is what you expect to find with your situation, it pays to prepare for this. Start saving the difference in the two payments. Just put it aside in the bank. Not only will this give you some savings, but it will get you accustomed to living within different means.
Most real estate experts advise getting pre-qualified for a loan before you start perusing the homes for sale. When you know how much you can afford, you won’t waste your time looking at houses beyond your price range.
Find an Agent
The seller’s real estate agent will not have your best interests in mind. Get your own buyer’s agent. Not only will they be an advocate for you, but they will streamline the searching process and answer any questions you have.