I was so happy to meet so many first-time home buyers this weekend. As promised, below are some tips to help you get started on your home search.
1. Get your credit in order.
Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. Get a copy of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.
2. Aim for a home you can really afford.
The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you'll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.
3. If you can't put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.
There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a down payment as small as 3 percent of the purchase price.
4. Choose carefully between points and rate.
When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points -- a portion of the interest that you pay at closing -- in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time -- say three to five years or more -- it's usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.
5. Before house hunting, get pre-approved.
Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.
I look forward to working with you. Please do not hesistate to contact me with any questions.
Melissa Juarez, MBBA LLC ~ email@example.com