Looking for a new home in White Bear Lake, MN? Once you've made the decision that it's the right time to buy, it's so tempting to just get out and start looking. But there is some very important financial groundwork that you should lay before even stepping inside a house for sale.
This CNNMoney article gives some very good tips on what you should know and do before you start the process of buying (or even looking at) a house:
Start with your credit
It's never been more important to have good credit when buying a home. Lenders are much more cautious than they were in the past, and with good reason. But even if you've never missed a payment on any loan, your credit reports might have errors on them. Get them, scrutinize them carefully, and have any errors corrected before you work on securing financing for a home.
Know what you can afford
You may have a dollar figure in mind, and it might be accurate. But, especially if this will be your first home purchase, there may also be areas of expenses that you haven't factored in. Shop lenders, watch interest rates, and find a lender who offers a good rate on the right kind of loan for your long-term plans. Your lender will pre-approve you for a certain amount of money. This number will help you get a better feel for the price range you should be looking in, but doesn't necessarily mean that you should get a loan for the upper end of what you're approved for! You need to consider a multitude of expenses like utilities, taxes, trash collection fees, housing association fees if applicable, maintenance and repairs, etc. Sit down and create a careful budget. Doing this BEFORE looking at homes will help you narrow your focus (hence not waste your time) and prevent you from falling in love with a house that's completely out of your price range.
Line up cash
In a perfect world, you have at least 20% to put down on your new house. If you don't, there are still options available to you, but it's harder to secure those loans. And don't forget about the other fees you'll need to have money to pay: Once you've considered the down payment, make sure you've got enough to cover fees and closing costs. These may include the appraisal fee, loan fees, attorney's fees, inspection fees, and the cost of a title search. They can easily add up to more than $10,000 - and often run to 5 percent of the mortgage amount.
If you take the time to get your financial house in order, you'll be well on your way to buying a new house in White Bear Lake, MN!