There are many pitfalls you can avoid when you are in the market to buy a new home. Here are just a few tips and strategies to help you prepare for success:
Know your credit score.
You may be able to get a better mortgage rate and more favorable loan terms by restructuring some of your balances on credit cards, car loans, etc. Mortgage professionals help you correct errors on your credit report and determine which balances to restructure or pay off in order to improve your credit score.
Know how much you can spend and determine how much you can afford. Mortgage professionals can help you:
- Finance your home based on your monthly payment comfort level
- Determine how much cash to use as your down payment and where to get these funds
- Understand your before and after-tax monthly payments
- Restructure some other debt you may have to free up more monthly cash flow that enables you to improve your home buying budget
Don't get caught in the "pre-approval" / "pre-qualification" trap.
It is always better to get a full approval / loan commitment from a mortgage professional before you even start looking for a home. Many mortgage brokers and lenders will give you a "pre-approval" or "pre-qualification", but these are often meaningless. What you really need is a bona fide commitment from a mortgage lender that you are in fact approved for financing. Many real estate transactions have been ruined because buyers, sellers and Realtors have counted on "pre-approval" letters that proved meaningless.
Determine whether to rent or buy a home based on timeframe, budget and local market conditions.
Mortgage professionals help you run the numbers to determine if it is better for you to rent or buy a home based on your individual circumstances.
Develop a strategy for financing your closing costs, home improvements and furniture expenses.
A home purchase is a significant financial commitment. Mortgage professionals help you understand the costs involved in home ownership and help you develop a financial strategy for dealing with these costs ahead of time.
Evaluate the mortgage products that will work best in your situation.
Remember, it is far better to find a mortgage professional who can help you implement the best strategy with competitive interest rates than for you to shop for the lowest rate with the wrong strategy.