The new year is a time for new beginnings and, of course, resolutions. If one of your resolutions for 2019 is to become a homeowner, we have a list of 6 things you can do to get prepared and make the homebuying process easier.
Evaluate your finances: Before you start house hunting, you need to get a firm handle on your finances. What do you earn? What do you spend? How much do you have in savings? Answering these questions will help you determine if you are financially ready for homeownership.
Get Credit Smart: Find out what your credit score is. Credit is key to getting a mortgage and determining your interest rate. You can take steps to improve your credit by paying your bills on time, working with a housing counselor, and taking our free CreditSmart® online training.
Stay focused on your goal: After evaluating your finances, you'll be able to see where there is room for improvement. If you're trying to save money, work on reducing optional expenses at the start of the year and set up a monthly, automatic deposit into your savings account.
Get preapproved for a loan: A pre-approval letter from your lender will tell you the maximum amount you are qualified to borrow for a home loan. Based on the information in your loan application, the lender will determine the amount you are qualified to borrow by evaluating your four Cs. Having a pre-approval letter while shopping for homes can help you move faster, with greater confidence, in competitive markets. Keep in mind that you should only borrow what is comfortable for you and within your budget, making sure not to overextend yourself.
Gather paperwork ahead of time: There is a lot of paperwork involved in the buying process so it's important to get organized as early as possible. When applying for a home loan, you will need copies of your tax returns, paycheck stubs, bank and asset statements, W-2 information and your credit report. There are going to be additional documents to finalize the sale, transfer the deed and compile your mortgage information. Starting the process organized will minimize mishaps down the road.
Lean on Your Team: The better prepared you are the better your experience will be. Considering hiring a trusted team of industry professionals to help you navigate the homebuying process. The expertise of a trusted agent, attorney and home inspector can save you money in the long run.