There are a few mandatory preparations or steps to buying a home. It’s never too early to start preparing, and crossing these items off your list will make it easier to find and finance the home of your dreams.
1. Check your credit
Go to annualcreditreport.com and request free credit reports from all three credit reporting bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. For a small fee, you can also get your credit score.
Check the reports thoroughly for any errors that need correcting and any negative information.
2. Consult a lender
This can help you identify what you can afford. If you don’t know a good lender, contact me and I can recommend several.
3. Attend a seminar or take a class on home buying
These are usually free and step you through the home-buying process. In our area, Credit Counseling of Arkansas offers a course each month.
4. Start saving
One idea is to save the difference between your rent and what you estimate your mortgage payment will be. This can help prove to a lender and to yourself that you can afford mortgage payments that may be higher than what you are currently paying in rent.
5. Identify where you want to live
Take the time to visit a variety of potential neighborhoods and consider how they meet your needs in terms of transportation and other amenities. This will help you narrow your priorities and streamline your search.
6. Visit open houses
Open houses are a great way to start looking around and identifying what you like and want in your home. Visit homes in your target neighborhood, but also homes that just interest you. This is the chance to get ideas and identify the non- negotiable in your home.
7. Interview realtors
At each open house, you’ll meet a realtor. In some cases they will be the listing agent for the home and will be representing the sellers. In other cases, they will be a buyer’s agent who would be available to work with you on that or any other home. I recommend that you interview several realtors to find one that you are comfortable working with.
If you have questions about neighborhoods, financing, down payment assistance programs or just the home-buying process, contact me. I’d be happy to help.