Set Up Your Budget
As most people know, home ownership is almost always a cheaper alternative to renting in the long run. There are just so many benefits of owning a home, from historical appreciation to the tax benefits. With that said, in the beginning, it can be a bit pricier.
Therefore, it is important to budget for a home loan, beforehand. You need to determine whether your income can accommodate this expense or not.
If you find yourself unable to afford making monthly payments on your home loan, it would be a mistake to try to own a house at this time.
Make Sure You Are Pre-Qualified
Some people are anxious to shop for a house and want to do it quickly, before they are financially able to afford it.
If you have already started talking to sellers before sitting down with your mortgage lender, you are making a mistake. In fact, not many sellers will want to work with you if you promise them a certain amount and then can’t fulfill that promise.
To avoid any disappointments, it’s wise to have your home loan pre-approved first, then go ahead and look for a house to buy.
Know (and manage) Your Credit Score
The importance of your credit score in the mortgage process is paramount. In many cases, this distinction will draw the line between owning a house and renting one.
If you go ahead and apply for a mortgage loan without having an idea your credit score, you could end up paying a lot more than you expected, or not be able to qualify at all. With that said, the free online sites give you a good ballpark, but it isn’t the same thing as a tri-merged report pulled by your lender.
It’s best to perform a credit check beforehand. If your credit isn’t ideal, don’t despair. I’ve got a “Credit Coach” that I work with who can help improve your scores faster than you might think!
Don’t Forget About the Home’s Resale Value
Remember, this home you are purchasing is considered an asset, and real estate has historically appreciated over time.
You should never overlook the resale value of the home you intend to purchase.
What you need to do is to ask yourself several questions such as: Will it be easy to sell this house? Will this house appreciate over time if I decide to buy another one? Is it situated in a preferred neighborhood? Good questions, all!
Have The Right Realtor on Your Side
A knowledgeable and professional real estate agent can take a huge burden off your shoulders when it comes to looking for the right house – they will help you understand the market and represent your interests. They will be your advocate throughout the process.
An unprepared agent can cost you money and set the deal back.
Make sure your Realtor is prepared and well versed.
Don’t Disregard Housing Marketing Trends
Just like other financial markets, the housing also sees fluctuation. Sometimes it favors the buyers, and sometimes it favors the sellers.
There are a number of factors that affect these housing marketing trends. This includes the ratio between supply and demand, interest rates and the overall condition of the economy.
It’s also imperative that you consider how the housing market changes in your ideal location, as home prices vary from one location to another. Both your real estate agent and your lender can help you understand where the market is when you are ready to buy.
Make Sure You Understand All Associated Costs
This is a common mistake that many first-time homebuyers often make.
Before signing the homebuyer’s agreement, it would be wise on your part to determine all of the costs that go along with the transaction.
Don’t Be Too Indecisive
As much as it is unwise to rush into making a purchase, it is equally imprudent to take too long to decide if a particular property is right for you.
If you take too long to make a decision, another homebuyer will take advantage of your indecisiveness and buy that home that you’ve had your eye on, but didn’t make an offer.
Since market trends change from time to time, you could also find out that the house you took too long to buy has a new (and higher) price tag attached to it.
Don’t Rely on Online Services Only
It’s true that some loans can be obtained online and houses can be bought online as well.
But failure to establish personal touch with your lender or home sellers will more than likely present a huge and costly misunderstanding in future.