Preparing for homeownership doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. However, there are certainly steps you want to take to ensure that you are prepared for this exciting time in your life. Below are some items that you will want to consider as you get ready.
Pre-planning for your Purchase:
- Build a good credit history – Good credit will make qualifying for a mortgage as well as getting a lower interest rate much easier. Paying bills on time and not maxing out your credit cards are good places to start.
- Get mortgage pre-approval – Contact a reputable mortgage agent and get pre-qualified for a loan. They will help you determine how much you can afford so that you can begin your search for properties accordingly.
- Consider hiring an attorney – You will want to consider retaining an attorney to review all contracts and agreements associated with the home buying process.
- Save up for a down payment – Down payments are most often 10-20% of property’s value. Sometimes if a FHA-qualified, it can possibly be less.
- Set aside your closing costs which can include taxes, attorney’s fees, and transfer fees.
- Your mortgage agent should be able to give you an idea of what to expect.
Finding the Right Property
- Identify what is important to you. Consider things like size, schools, neighborhood amenities, monthly mortgage payment, public transportation, walkability, proximity to things in your everyday lifestyle.
- Make sure you factor in utilities, taxes, insurance and/or condo fee when calculating the monthly mortgage payment
Make an Offer to Purchase
- Review local comps in the area to have a strong understanding of what the fair market value is. Then weigh those against the particular property in consideration.
- Begin with a strategic offer that is going to be competitive. Be prepared to counter offer.
- When you offer is accepted, hire a licensed home inspector to review the home and audit for its current condition and for necessary repairs that it may need.
- Keep your credit score stable and in-check by waiting to purchase any big-ticket items until long after the closing.
Closing and Post Purchase
- Weatherproof your new home. Be sure it is prepared for seasonal changes and that the wear and tear of the elements will not affect it.
- Maintain your files of warranties, insurance documents, closing documents, etc. in a well organized place.
- Setup utilities in your name and maintain those files in a well organized place.