You’ve decided that you are ready to buy a home. Congratulations! During this very exciting time, it is important to consider the various aspects of the process of becoming a homeowner. Since this is one of the largest financial decisions you will ever make, ensuring you’re prepared before heading to open houses can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Check out the steps you should take before beginning your hunt for the perfect home.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET
Before you start saving homes on your Zillow app, it is critical that you establish a budget you are comfortable with. By doing this, you can take a more responsible approach to your search and avoid falling in love with a home that just isn’t in your budget. This can also help to set expectations on the size of your home depending on the location. In addition to your monthly mortgage payment, think about how much you can afford for your down payment. Luckily, there are a variety of mortgage programs that can provide you with flexibility here, especially if you are a first-time home buyer.
Beyond your mortgage payment, there are other common costs you may face as a homeowner including:
- Home Insurance
- HOA Fees
- Repairs and Renovations
By breaking down these costs, you will be able to focus on homes that are in your budget.
CONSIDER YOUR HOUSING NEEDS
While it is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of it all, take time to consider your needs and wants in a home. Since there are many aspects of a home that may be important to you, separate your list out by needs and wants so you can prioritize accordingly. For example, it may be a must-have for your home to be in a town with an excellent school system. You may also want a finished basement. While a finished basement would be nice, you’ve decided sending your child to a good school is non-negotiable.
If you are torn between multiple houses, you can remind yourself of the needs you outlined before you began your search. Having this list handy while on your house hunt can help you stay focused on your priorities. By weighing out these aspects in advance, you will be a smarter house hunter while avoiding properties that don’t meet your criteria.
GET A MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVED
Along with establishing your budget, it is critical that you get a mortgage pre-approval before you begin your search. A pre-approval is the process that helps you and the mortgage company understand how much money you can borrow to buy your home. Factors that come in to play for the process include your debt-to-income ratio, credit score, steady income stream, and more. This process usually takes 1-3 days once you hand off documentation to your loan officer. The best time to get pre-approved is right before you begin your search. One of the biggest benefits of completing this process is that you will have a better chance of having an offer accepted over another buyer who did not get pre-approved.
For more information about mortgage pre-approvals, check out our blog post explaining this process!
FIND AN AGENT
Finding a real estate agent you trust will help tremendously in your search. This professional will have your best interests in mind while sharing a variety of homes that meet your needs. Many top-performing agents have guided other buyers through this process countless times and are well-versed in providing home recommendations. They can provide insights on recent local home sale prices, neighborhood information, school system gradings, and more. Plus, they have superior negotiating skills! Partnering with a real estate expert will give you peace of mind that you are in good hands when making your decision.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
At Family First Funding, it is our goal to ensure you feel confident in every decision you make throughout the process of becoming a homeowner. Reach out to learn more on how we can pair you with a loan officer or apply now to get a mortgage pre-approval today!