So you’re ready to buy a home…
But where do you start?
For many, the process seems overwhelming, but with a little help from some great Realtors (Ahem…Lol!) it doesn’t have to be. So let’s get you started!
If you haven’t done so already, you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This topic is a good example of why it’s important for us to be working as “partners” on the same page…
Many buyers feel like agents are being pushy when they suggest getting pre-approved. They take offense. They resist. They make excuses. They look at it as the agent being nosy, looking to see how much the buyer can afford, or looking to make sure the buyer can afford a home.
Well, it’s exactly that! And there’s nothing wrong about an agent asking them to do it either.
Unfortunately, agents who are not entirely confident (or perhaps just desperate for business) let it slide. Then they show their client homes that, it turns out, they could never afford…or it turns out they couldn’t afford a home at all. And that hurts both the agent and the client in different ways.
Beyond just knowing that you can get a mortgage, and for how much, getting pre-approved will do a couple of other things for you:
- You’ll need it when you want to submit an offer on a home. And in those moments, time can be of the essence. If you need to rush to get pre-approved, you may lose the home if you can’t get the pre-approval in time.
- Starting to talk with lenders now will give you time to choose which lender you want to work with, shop rates and products, and get the best overall loan for your situation. (NOTE: Once you’re under contract, you won’t have much time to shop around for rates and your preferred lender.)
You can certainly ask any lender you already have a relationship with, but if you want any recommendations, we are happy to share some of our favorite lenders, just let us know.
Ok, now that you’re pre-approved, you know what you can afford.
That doesn’t mean you need to buy a home for as much as you’re approved for. In fact, it’d be great if we could find you a great home for less than you can afford, right? Well, as long as it fits your needs and wants, of course…
So, what do you need in the home you buy?
If you haven’t already, think about and write down a list of your “must haves” and your “wish list” so you are prepared when we ask what you are looking for.
Now we can start looking at homes that meet your criteria and are within your approved budget.
**Pro Tip: We may suggest looking at homes that don’t have everything on your lists. Be open to looking at homes that don’t meet all your criteria. You’d be surprised how many of our clients found their dream home by looking at properties that didn’t have everything they thought they wanted.
Step 3: Don’t spend a penny…
When you’re in the process of buying a homes, it is important not to accrue any new debts-especially after you’ve been pre-approved! This can (and likely will) affect whether you will actually get the loan you were approved for.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t go out to eat, buy groceries, get gas, or spend other daily, weekly, and monthly expenditures you normally have.
- Don’t go buy a new car (or lease one)
- Don’t go and book a vacation on the credit card (or drain your checking account)
- Don’t even pay off a large credit card bill
There are plenty of other examples we could give, but the bottom line is this…
Before you spend or commit to any debts between now and when you close on your new home, check with your mortgage advisor and us before doing so.
Some purchases may be absolutely necessary. Some may not even affect a thing. But it is better to be safe than sorry.
Too many buyers aren’t advised of this and don’t think twice about spending money. Unfortunately, they find out the hard way.
And finally, our 10 Commandments of Buying a Home:
- Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed, or quit or job.
- Thou shalt not buy a car, truck, or van (or you may be living in it!).
- Thou shalt not use credit cards excessively or let current accounts fall behind.
- Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for closing.
- Thou shalt not omit debts or liabilities from your loan application.
- Thou shalt not buy furniture on credit.
- Thou shalt not originate any inquiries into your credit.
- Thou shalt not make large deposits without checking with your loan officer.
- Thou shalt not change bank accounts.
Thou shalt not co-sign a loan for anyone.