How to be ready if this is your year to buy a home
If you’ve dreamed of owning your first home, 2017 might be the right year for you to align yourself properly to do so. It may not be as easy as looking on sites like Zillow, seeing a home you like and purchasing it. There are steps that you should take to help get prepared for this purchase and get you to the closing table faster.
First and foremost, you should find an experienced Realtor you trust to look out for your best interest. Your neighbor or your friend’s cousin who just got their license may not be the best match for you. An experienced agent will have knowledge of the market and the business that may be useful to you and knows the ins and outs of the business that new agents simply don’t know.
An experienced person may be able to better assist you in finding homes that aren’t necessarily listed yet, come up with creative ways to get you into a home that is slightly outside of your criteria but still worth considering, and they will have more experience negotiating terms that work for all parties involved. This area is filled with many great agents with a ton of knowledge and experience, so it’s easy to find one that you can work with.
Keep an eye on your credit and talk with a few different lenders. If you have bad credit, 2017 should be the year to clean it up. Work on paying off those high-interest credit cards with high balances. Don’t be late on your monthly payments as that will hurt your credit score. Speak with a few different lenders and local banks to learn about the different programs they have that will fit you as they don’t always offer the same types of loans. A lender will also help by suggesting ways to make adjustments in your spending habits to get you in the best possible position to get the best possible loan.
Save your money and don’t go buy a new car this year. The days of 100 percent financing are gone. Just about every loan requires some kind of investment from you. The more money you have to put down toward your home purchase the better off you’ll be.
It may be the year to realign your priorities. Do you need that $2,000 television or will the $700 option fit your needs? There are many ways to save a little extra cash each month when you really look at your spending habits.
Maybe you should drive that car one more year and not open up another credit card at 20 percent to make a purchase. Opening up another line of credit could cost you. Definitely don’t do it once you’re under contract and going through the loan process. A new credit item can blow the deal for you.
Finally, stay at your job. One of the questions on your loan application is how long you have been at your current job. An underwriter wants to see stability from a borrower and know where the money to pay back your loan will be coming from.
Many of these items sound like common sense, but they are also easy to forget about when the temptation arises. If your goal is to purchase a home for the first time or replace your existing home this year, I urge you to keep all of this in mind.
Good luck on reaching your goals, and happy house hunting.
Sean de Moraes’ real estate column appears on the first Friday of each month. He is an agent with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s.
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