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Don’t Miss Out on Your Dream House: Tips to Prepare for Purchasing a Home

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Don’t Miss Out on Your Dream House: Tips to Prepare for Purchasing a Home


Generally, more than 700,000 homes are sold each month across the country. The market is always updating with new homes being put on the market and others being sold. It is overwhelming to jump in and try to find your dream home, especially if you have missed out on one in the past. 

Being prepared is the key when purchasing a home. This allows you to feel confident that when the right house comes along you will be able to snatch it up without hesitation. 

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, you will find these tips for purchasing a home helpful in getting you ready to start your search for your perfect next home. 

Strengthen Finances

No matter where you are looking to buy a home, chances are you will need help from a lender to secure the purchase. If that is the case for you, you will want to make sure your finances are in order to get the best rates and loan options available. 

The first step should be taking care of any debts you can so that your debt to income ratio is more favorable to the lender. This is a way they determine how reliable you are and, therefore, how much they are willing to loan you. Overall, the less debt you have the better in most cases. 

Finances play a huge role in buying or selling a home, so taking a few extra months to get things in the best shape will always pay off in the end. 

Understand Credit Rating

When you feel like you are in a good financial spot, it is a great idea to check on your credit score to see where you stand. The credit score is based on your financial history and plays a huge role in what type of mortgage you will be able to get. 

Keeping an eye on your score will help you know what steps you need to take to improve it or what to keep doing to keep it trending upwards. Check with your banking officials for more insights into how to handle a credit score when trying to get into a new home as well. 

Get a Pre-Approval Letter

At this point in your preparations, you can work with your preferred lender to get a pre-approval lender. Actually, first, you should do a little shopping around to find the best lender with the most beneficial mortgage option for your specific situation. 

A pre-approval letter certifies what you will be able to get from the bank and, therefore, what you can afford. This is required by most sellers to have the verification you can in fact get the funding you need to purchase their home. Having this letter opens up doors as you search for a home and allows you to put an offer in as quickly as possible. 

Save For Down Payment 

Any advice about purchasing a home is not complete without mentioning how important it is to save for a down payment. The down payment is money you put into the purchase before the lender gives the rest of the amount. As you increase your down payment amount, the loan amount goes down (and often the interest rate as well). 

Saving for a down payment also opens up more mortgage options as you are showing how financially responsible you are as well. When there are more mortgage options, there are more housing options and you have better odds of finding your dream home. 

Gather Paperwork 

There is no way around it, when purchasing a home there is a lot of paperwork to fill out. 

First, you will need to verify many things with your lender to get your pre-approval letter (like your previous tax returns, pay stubs, asset information). Then you will have to certify who you are and your financial status to the seller and their representation. During the actual purchase, you will have to give the title company several documents as well. 

If even one piece is missing at any given time, the whole process will slow down significantly. It is best to have everything ready to go before even beginning the search. Keep it in a safe place where you can access it whenever you need it. 

Check Local Market Trends

Once you have done all of the prep work, it is time to do more of the fun side of things and take a look at the local market. Check out what different size homes are going for, what areas homes are available in, and what condition homes seem to be selling in. 

All of this information will give you a good foundation to start your search. It helps you set realistic expectations and keep your dreams in check to avoid frustration and disappointment. This knowledge will also come in handy as you take your next steps. 

Set Budget 

After you have taken a good look at what the current market looks like, it is time to set a budget for your purchase. Setting a solid budget ensures that you will not overextend your finances and get yourself into a difficult situation. 

It is important to remember that a mortgage payment is something you will be living with for many years. The best advice when purchasing a home is to be smart about how much you take out and make it affordable for your everyday budget. Many homeowners benefit from making a pay-off plan as well to help them reach that important financial goal. 

Make a Needs and Wants List

For most potential home-buyers, the perfect house is not out there. Every home and family is so unique, it is hard to find something that matches both completely. 

Before beginning your serious search, it is a good idea to make a "need" and a "want" list. The things on the first list are things that are non-negotiable, if the home does not have them, you will pass on it right away. The things on the second list are nice but not necessary. Having this distinction will help you narrow down your search and save yourself a lot of time. 

Clarity about these things ensures you get a home that will work for your family on a basic level and keep you from making a major mistake. 

Create Plan for Leaving Current Housing 

A lot of times, buying a new home is just one piece of the puzzle for homeowners. They will also have to move out of their current home, either getting out of a lease or selling it. Before you can buy your new home, it is a good idea to have a plan for that move. 

This means taking care of any renovations needed before putting it up for sale or deep cleaning the apartment before turning in the keys. 

Having a plan in place makes the transition much smoother. It takes away a lot of the overwhelming feelings that can come from trying to handle both sides of the transaction. 

Hire a Professional 

You can find a lot of advice about purchasing a home but the best and most helpful piece will always be to work with a professional. A real estate agent has all of the knowledge and expertise necessary to walk you through the process with much more ease than taking it on by yourself. 

A real estate agent will also be able to sort through your options and narrow them down to only the most relevant options. They can also make sure you have everything you need for each step of the process.

Overall, a real estate agent ensures that you can get into the house you want with as little stress as possible. 

Clear Schedule and Start Looking 

The real estate market is always changing and fluctuating, once you have taken all of these preparation steps, it is time to clear your schedule!

In some cases, houses can come on and leave the market in as little as a day or even just a few hours. The best way to ensure you see every possible option is to have the time to get to them all. Obviously, you cannot have a completely clear schedule but trying to be as flexible as possible is a good start.

Even though the overall process can be overwhelming, remember this is the fun part and should be enjoyed!  

Things to Do When Purchasing a Home

There is so much to do when purchasing a home, it is a lot to keep track of (especially when the market is hot!). Taking a little extra time to prepare your finances and expectations can help you be much more successful in the long run. 

Instead of panicking and feeling stressed during the entire searching process, you will be able to relax and enjoy the ride until you find the perfect new spot. And once you do, you will not miss out on it because you are not ready to make an offer or you are not sure it is just right for you. These days, even a little hesitation can cost you a house. It is best to be as prepared as possible. 

If you are interested in learning more about the home-buying process or seeing potential homes in your area, contact us today!