Buying your first home is equivalent to embarking on a grand adventure. Although extremely thrilling, learning the ins and outs of the home-purchasing process can often seem overwhelming. From determining a budget to obtaining a loan, there are numerous factors to take into consideration along the way.
To help you reach the final destination of a white picket fence, keep these five tips in mind throughout the journey.
- Check your credit score.
Your credit score impacts various aspects of your life, especially when it comes to buying a house. It’s a determining factor in being approved for a loan with a low interest rate. Credit Karma offers free credit reports with monitoring, which can help you catch what may be negatively affecting your score. Mortgage brokers, credit card companies, and banks can also sometimes explain your score in greater detail. Check with them to see if they offer this service.
- Be realistic about what you can afford.
When setting a budget, it’s important to be realistic. To keep your head out of the clouds, consider making a master list of the necessities (such as the number of bedrooms and square footage) and a separate list of the extras (such as hardwood floors and a modern kitchen) that you’re willing to compromise on. Many first-time buyers update their house piece by piece, creating the ultimate dream home!
- Gather all necessary documents.
To get prequalified for a loan, lenders typically require various documents. It’s advantageous to collect pay stubs, bank statements, and W-2s from the past two years. Ensuring your paperwork is organized will eliminate having to scramble every time a lender requests additional information.
- Get preapproved for your loan.
Once your credit score is deemed acceptable and the required documents are submitted, you’ll be able to begin the preapproval stage. Being preapproved allows you to submit an offer with confidence and puts you on equal footing with competing bids.
- Find a supportive REALTOR®.
Whether it’s by word—of—mouth or through research, connect with a REALTOR® who fully understands your search criteria. A good REALTOR® will assist first-time home buyers throughout the entire process. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is with a REALTOR® who is on the same page as you.
As with every adventure, the destination is the most rewarding part. Take the time to enjoy it–you only get to be a first-time home buyer once!