To get started, understand what you’ll need for a successful home search and purchase.
Steps of the Home Buying Process
It’s important to be educated about the homebuying process to avoid common mistakes. The path to homeownership includes pre-purchase planning, an evaluation of your lifestyle and finances, property hunting and working with an agent to close on your new home.
1. Pre-Purchase Planning
Once you determine you’re in the right financial position to purchase property, find out how much can you afford. Take into consideration all your current expenses and debts, including credit cards and loans.
Most mortgage lenders require a credit score above 580 or the “Fair” range. Check your credit report for any discrepancies and have them corrected before mortgage pre-qualification. Getting pre-qualified indicates your creditworthiness and ability to borrow. You’ll also be given a general idea of your price range for homes and the potential interest rate of a loan. If your credit score is lower than 580 due to missed payments, work on improving your repayment history.
Before starting the search for properties, get a Prequalified Approval Letter from a mortgage lender so you can start communicating with a real estate agent and sellers.
2. Lifestyle Evaluation
Experts say you should stay in your first home for at least 3 to 5 years to break even on your mortgage. If you move around often for work or are not ready for the responsibility of home maintenance, it might be wise to delay buying. Yet if you have a new baby on the way and more space is needed, a home could perfectly complement your new lifestyle!
3. Financial Evaluation
Calculate your debt-to-income ratio – the percentage of monthly gross income that goes toward paying debts. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recommends 43 percent or less. Based on your debt-to-income ratio, can you afford to make a down payment?
In general, most buyers aim for 20 percent down but there are other loan options and mortgage insurance available to supplement what you cannot contribute. Weigh the pros and cons of all financing options before making any decisions.
4. Shopping for the Perfect House
Determine your needs and wants – is a modern kitchen a non-negotiable amenity but you could live without a finished basement? An ERA Hart Sargis-Breen agent will help you find the perfect property listings to match your requirements. It’s beneficial to attend as many open houses as possible to compare what’s available.
5. Working with ERA Hart Sargis-Breen
You can rely on us to answer any questions you have along the way! When you’ve found your dream home, an agent can help you make an offer, negotiate with the seller and finalize the paperwork.
Let us help you close on your dream home!
To start the home search and purchase process, contact an ERA Hart Sargis-Breen agent today.