Our 7 Tips for First Time Buyers
1. Check your credit report.
If you start by getting pre-qualified, your lender will discuss your credit report and score with you. But isn’t it better to know what you’re dealing with before you talk to them? We think so.
You should check your credit report for accuracy. The added bonus is that it’s free at: www.annualcreditreport.com. This site unfortunately doesn’t give your FICO credit score. If you’re curious about that, check out www.MyFICO.com. And don’t worry, it doesn’t lower your score by checking it.
2. Talk to a lender and get pre-qualified.
Many people like to leave this step for later in the process, which is a big mistake. Knowing how much you can afford and feel comfortable spending right away is very important. Plus, you will need to submit your pre-approval letter when you make an offer. Since you never know when the right one might come along, it’s best to have this done upfront.
3. Develop your wish list.
Now that you’ve got an idea of your price range, it’s important to figure out what you want in your new place. We recommend making a list as long as you like, then ranking the items from most important to least important. This information is crucial when you’re comparing properties. It also helps take some of the emotion out of house hunting, as hard as that may be!
4. Select your neighborhoods and do some research online.
The internet is a powerful tool. You can view real estate listings, neighborhood info and all sorts of other great information. Try plugging in your price range and neighborhood preferences into an online search site. Are there homes that look like they could be a good fit? If not, maybe you’ll have to revise the features you’re looking for or try a different neighborhood.
5. Start saving.
Many property virgins don’t realize the true out of pocket cost of buying a home. Not only is there your down payment, but add closing costs, inspection fees and mortgage application fees. Now you’re looking at a whole different number. Ask your lender for an estimate of closing costs and what their application fee is. The important thing to know is how much money you’ll need, and how much you may need to save.
6. Set a timeline.
Once you’ve done the above steps, it’s important to set a timeline for yourself. This can be based off a lease ending, saving money, or life changes like new job or marriage. Whatever your motivation, make sure you have a realistic timeline.
7. Schedule a meeting with us!
We know your first time can be overwhelming. We’re here to help make it as stress free as possible, by guiding you through the process. It’s nice to have someone on your team that’s been there before. No question is a stupid question, so feel free to get in touch today! We don’t bite, we promise.