Before you start looking for your new home:
- Check your credit rating - fix any mistakes that may be lurking
Your credit score will range from 300-850 and determines not only IF you get a loan but at what interest rate should you be approved. Check out the following website to learn more about the importance of your credit score: MyFico
- Determine a comfortable monthly budget, down payment and closing costs
Knowing up front what you can afford to spend monthly, how much you need for a down payment and what the closing costs
(also cash at closing) are will help you narrow your search and prevent you from buying outside your comfort zone. Using a mortgage calculator
can help you determine the monthly house payment that is best for you.
- Choose a loan that works with your finances and get pre-qualified
There are many different loans available today but the three basic types are: Fixed-rate loans
, Adjustable -rate loans,
and Balloon loans.
Research the pros and cons of each to determine which one best fits your needs. Pick a lending institution and begin the qualification process. Buyers that are pre-qualified have a much stronger negotiating position versus a buyer that has not been pre-qualified. Pre-qualified is not the same as pre-approved. Pre-approved simply means the financial institution is estimating the amount you might
qualify to borrow not the amount you can
- Make a list of your MUST haves and your would like to haves
This list will help you and your realtor focus on properties that are real contenders and quickly come up with a short list to seriously consider. It will also allow you to determine if your budget will adequately cover your must haves. If it doesn't you can adjust one or the other before you spend too much time in the process.