A number of times I've met with clients, understandably excited about the prospect of buying a home, but who, as I soon came to realize, didn't have an understanding of the costs involved in the buying process or what it REALLY takes to get to the finish line. Here are some tips for home buyers:
1. Get to Know Your Credit: Where you can get a mortgage and how much you'll pay is determined in large part by your credit score and credit history. Do you know your credit score? After the recent Equifax debacle this actually applies to everyone, but home buyers especially should become familiar with their credit score and credit history, and make sure everything in their credit reports is accurate. You're entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Order yours online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228.
2. Hire an Experienced Team: If you're new to buying real estate, you don't want to hire an inexperienced real estate agent. Buying a home may be the largest purchase you'll ever make and this is not the time to make mistakes. Gary and I have each been selling real estate for almost thirty years. We work with the most experienced Mortgage Brokers, Real Estate Attorneys, and Home Inspectors in Westchester, and we can direct you to professionals you can depend on.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage: Most people require a mortgage to pay for their home and the correct order of doing things is to get pre-approved for a mortgage first and then start shopping for a home. You'll truly know what you can afford and you'll be a much more attractive potential buyer to a seller when you're ready to make an offer. Today, this involves more than a quick credit check. Be prepared to show income verification and what you have in the bank for a down payment.
4. Know All Your Costs: This is where new home buyers can get blindsided, not realizing ALL the costs that go into owning a home. First, sit down and create a solid budget of what you can afford, and before you go to look at your first house, make a vow to stick to it. Then, understand all the costs you'll need to factor in, including property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance, closing costs, reserves and possible upgrades to major appliances and heating/cooling systems, etc. Each person's situation is different and it's important to discuss where they are getting these funds from. Whether they are saved, gifted or investment monies, the bank will look at those individually to make sure that you qualify for the loan.
Are you ready to enter the exciting and gratifying world of home ownership or do you know someone who is? The Leogrande Team at (914) 761-7878 is standing by to help you make this major step come true.