Tips For Home Buyers

Buying a home is an exciting, yet overwhelming, experience. These 10 tips will help you navigate the process with less stress and more confidence.

1.

 

Clean up your credit

If you have poor credit, you are a bigger risk in the eyes of lenders. You'll pay the price in the form of higher interest rates. Higher rates can reduce the amount of home you can afford or keep you out of the housing market altogether. Make a point of paying auto loans, credit card bills, and other payments on time and in full. If you want help developing a plan, you can contact a housing counseling agency oftentimes at little or no cost. In addition, there are many resources available on the internet that can help you find out your score and find out ways to improve it.

2.

Save

You may need money for your down payment, closing costs, moving and other expenses. Once you have made the decision that you are going to buy a home, begin the process of saving as much money as possible. Some counties offer down payment assistance programs. Check with your local municipalities for more information.

3.

Look for gifts and grants

In addition to your relatives and friends, your employer might offer incentives for first-time home buyers. Don't sell yourself short. Do your research and see if there are any programs in your area that may give you money towards the purchase of a home.

4.

Get Pre-Approved for your mortgage loan

A mortgage broker or lender can tell you generally what you can afford and how much you can borrow. This will give you an edge with sellers in a competitive market. In fact, most sellers will not even entertain an offer unless it is accompanied by a Pre-approval Letter from your mortgage company.

5.

Be realistic

Your dream house could quickly turn into a nightmare if you spend more than you can really afford. Pick a house with a mortgage payment that will allow you to be comfortable in other aspects of your life.

6.

Consult with a real estate professional

Real estate agents are invaluable in providing information about homes and their neighborhoods. In addition, if you hire a real estate agent as your representative, he or she will be working on your behalf and may get you a better deal on your home. Most of the time, buyer's representatives are paid out of the seller's commission, so a real estate professional assisting you with your purchase will not cost you any money at all.

7.

Research the neighborhood

A good real estate agent can help you with this. Check out the ratings of the neighborhood schools. Even if you don't have children, this could be important when you try to sell the house in the future. Also, make sure you know the proximity to anything that might be deemed undesirable, such as airports and major highways, and ask your real estate agent for zoning information on any areas surrounding the home and neighborhood.

8.

Make any offer contingent on an inspection

Even if the house looks perfect to you, chances are that it is not. A professional inspection can help you understand the condition of the property and identify problems you may encounter in the future. Even though most homes are not perfect, many of the problems discovered by a home inspection are easily remedied. But in the event the home has a major issue, you need to know about the issue before you purchase the home.

9.

Ask the seller for utility bills or estimates

Costs for electricity, gas, and water can add up. Sellers should be able to provide copies of bills or estimates to give you an idea of what to expect. This is oftentimes overlooked by many home buyers.

10.

Don't change your financial status

From the moment you decide to buy a home and until the time you actually close on the home is not the time to make major changes in your finances. Don't quit your job, don't buy a new car or make any other large purchases, and don't stop paying your bills. Changes like these can drastically reduce your credit rating and can result in even a Pre-Approved loan being denied before closing. Keep this in mind.