By Amy Burweigh, Special for US Daily Review.
Buying a home is a big decision. Not only is it a big financial decision, it is a life decision. It will determine where your life will develop and the people who are part of your life. Before you make this decision, you need to take a few things into account. Buying a home is not a decision to be taken lightly. You need to give it some thought and make a few preparations before you dive in head first.
Strengthen Your Credit Score
If your credit score is below 660, you should expect to pay some large fees or a large down payment. A credit score of 700-720 will get you a good deal. And, a score of 750 or above will get you the best rates.
Before you go to get a loan, you need to do everything you can to improve your credit score. Pay down your debt.
Figure Out Your Budget
Buying a home will not be an exciting event if you can barely pay your mortgage or if paying your mortgage means you can never go out to the movie. Before you pick a house, determine what you can pay for without sacrificing having a life.
For those who get an FHA loan, it is suggested that your payment doesn’t exceed 31% of your income. For conventional loans, your payment shouldn’t exceed 28%.
Save Up for a Down Payment
Many first-time home buyers don’t know there are fees and expenses that must be paid before the first mortgage payment. Depending on your credit score and the type of financing you get, you will need anywhere from 3.5%-20% down. In addition to a down payment, closing costs can’t be overlooked. Closing costs can run anywhere from $2,300- $4,000. Save as much money as possible before going to your closing.
You may think you found your dream home on day one, but keep on looking. Spend a significant amount of time looking at homes. Check out multiple neighborhoods. Look at different layouts. When you find a home you think is “the one”, get the opinion of all your family members.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Before contacting a realtor and walking through homes, get your financial life prepared. Getting a pre-approval for a mortgage will let you know exactly what your budget it. It will also make the home buying process go much more smoothly.
Determine Elements Your Home Must Have
It is important to know what items you are willing to sacrifice on and what you are not. Are granite countertops negotiable? Does the size of the backyard matter more than crown molding?
Make a list of things you aren’t willing to go without. Share that list with your realtor. Also, determine what you are lenient about.
Check Out the Schools
If you have children, you need to check out the schools in the area. Talk to people who live in your potential neighborhood. What schools will your kids go to? What are their opinions of the schools? Get multiple opinions.
Build Up Your Savings Account
In addition to your down payment and closing costs, you should work to save a little cash cushion. A lender will be much more willing to work with you if you have extra cash in a savings account. It is also a good idea to have savings in case there are any repairs that need to be made on the home.
Look for Additional Fees
Many neighborhoods have a Home Owner’s fee. If this is the case, make sure you are able to still afford the home with that worked into your budget.
Get a Realtor
A realtor can help you find homes with all your demands. A realtor is familiar with the market. They can lead you to areas that fit your budget and meet your needs. They are well informed and can help you find the best house for you.