If you’re considering trading your rent check for a mortgage payment, it’s not too soon to start preparing. Even if you won’t be ready to buy a home for six months or even a year, there are a few steps you can take now to make the process easier.
Check your credit and credit score
- You can receive a free credit report from the three credit reporting bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. Check the reports thoroughly for accuracy.
- A higher credit score qualifies you for lower interest rates, which will reduce your mortgage payment.
- Correcting any credit report errors and/or improving your credit score takes time, so make this important step your first one.
Start saving now
- You’ll need cash for a down payment, realtor fees, closing fees, home inspections and other expenses. Open a savings account and begin putting away as much money as you can.
- Consider getting a second job, having a garage sale or other ways to earn extra income to build your savings more quickly.
Consult a lender
- A mortgage lender will advise you on how much you are qualified to spend on a home. Additionally, lenders can advise you about down payment assistance programs you may qualify for.
Decide how much you want to spend
- While a lender advises you on how much you can borrow, it’s up to you to create a housing budget that you’re comfortable with. Be sure you’re not spending so much on a mortgage that you end up “house poor” and unable to afford other enjoyable life experiences.
Find a real estate agent
- If you don’t personally know a real estate agent, ask family and friends for recommendations. It’s important to feel comfortable with and trust the person you’ll work closely with to buy your home, so meet a few agents before deciding who you’d like to work with.
Research neighborhoods and visit open houses
- Take a drive to look for towns or neighborhoods you’d like to live in and tour open houses. You can also check out homes for sale in your targeted area on real estate company websites.
Research homeowners insurance
- Of course, you’ll need to insure the biggest purchase of your life. Contact your insurance agent for homeowners insurance rates and for advice on insuring your new home.
Source: www.realtor.com. Resolve to Buy a Home With These 10 Must-Do Steps. Retrieved from http://www.realtor.com/advice/ten-things-now-get-ready-buy-a-home/.