The thought of taking on a home loan that stretches over a third of your expected life span is a scary one, and not to be entered into lightly. So let's look at the steps required to make you a homeowner.
Credit – In today's financial world, credit is everything. You need to review your credit; get copies of your credit report from all three reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. If you find any errors, get to work to correct them right away, as it may take up to thirty days before changes actually appear on your credit statement.
Mortgage Types – there are different types of mortgages, and every one has its pros and cons. Find the one that works best for you and your situation, based on how long you plan to own the home, available down payment, etc.
Wish List – Okay, now you can get on to the fun stuff, namely sitting down and making a list of what you want in a home. Consider size, features, location, etc, and break your list into two categories, needs and wants.
Secure A Real Estate Agent – It sounds simple, but I chose my real estate agent based on the huge billboard ads he had around town. I figured he must be doing pretty good. Look for an agent who has been successful at making a name for himself in your area.
Neighborhoods – narrow down two or three neighborhoods that look attractive to you. Be sure to research the quality of area schools as well as local crime rates. There may be a reason that home has a too-good-to-be-true price.
Pay A Visit – visit the houses that you like, and see what your impressions are. The key is to see if the home you are looking at feels like home to you.
Make The Offer –Make an offer and be prepared to handle a counteroffer. Hopefully, you can reach an agreement with a minimum of back and forth. Your real estate agent will submit offers on your behalf and let you know if it has been accepted or not.
Pre-approval – this will let you know if a) you can buy a home, and b) how much you can realistically afford. It will also show sellers that you are serious about buying, which can be invaluable when there are multiple buyers or offers on a given property.
Home Inspection – Once you have found a home and made an offer, secure a home inspection. It will be $500 or so out of pocket, but when you consider the peace of mind it provides, then it becomes an invaluable service.
So go and find the home of your dreams. Making a good first decision now will only result in bigger and better things for you later on.
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Billy D Ritchie is the Director Of Content for LeadsByFone, LLC, a lead generation company servicing the water damage restoration industry. He is also the author of "The Water Damage Survival Guide", the one stop source for all things related to water damage and your home.
When not writing and educating folks about the perils of water damage, he is also a freelance writer, sometime actor, and formerly professional musician. He also enjoys spending his weekends building and flying model rockets