We get it. Once you’ve set your heart on buying a home, you want to hurry up and get it done. You want to go house hunting — it’s exciting! But there’s some prep work you should do first.
For the smoothest home buying experience:
DON’T Go House Hunting First-
Rushing out to look at houses can set you up for disappointment. Even if you find a place you like and think you can afford, you won’t be able to safely make an offer without first knowing if you qualify for a mortgage loan.
DON’T Rush to Make an Earnest Deposit-
For a $120,000 home, you’ll be asked for about $2,400 in earnest money to show you’re serious about buying. If you qualify for a mortgage and buy the home, the earnest deposit will count toward your down payment. Otherwise, that money can be forfeited.
DO Talk Things Over with Friends and Family-
One of the best ways to prepare for buying a home is by talking to friends and family, especially if they’ve recently bought a home. They know you best and may have good advice for you about buying a home and being a homeowner.
DO Take a Look at Your Personal Finances-
For starters, know your credit score. Your credit score is a three-digit code that identifies you to lenders as having excellent, good, fair or bad credit. You can get a free look at your credit score at freecreditscore.com for Experian, and creditkarma.com for your Equifax and Transunion.
DO Take the Time to Get Prequalified-
Getting pre-qualified is free and will make everything about buying a home easier. You’ll get an idea of what loan amount you qualify for and what houses are truly in your price range. Plus, later on, being pre-qualified will speed up final approvals and closing.
DO Be Patient-
Once you’re pre-qualified for a mortgage loan, you’ll find that buying a home still doesn’t happen overnight. On average, anticipate 60 days to find a home that suits your needs and another 45 days for closing. Two to four months is a fairly typical time frame.
Home buying can be an emotional experience for some, but you cant let them get in the way of your financial decision making. Stick around. In our next segment we will go over what you can afford to buy.