Once you decide to buy a home, the first thing you might want to do is to begin looking at houses online and setting up viewings. While looking at potential houses on the market is a crucial part of the process, jumping straight in could land you into trouble! Here are four things you need to check off your to-do list before you ever set foot in a home.
Ensure Your Credit is in Order
Good credit is essential when applying for a mortgage. A poor credit score can lead to higher interest rates and bigger monthly payments. Dings on your credit such as missing a card or loan payment, maxing out a credit card, or credit report errors can even prevent you from buying a home. Need to figure where you stand with your credit score? Start by requesting it from annualcreditreport.com. It’s free to request once per year, and is the only site authorized by the Federal Trade Commission to provide free credit reports.
A mortgage loan officer can get you started on your home buying journey by getting you pre-approved. This starts by taking an in-depth look at your credit report and ability to purchase a home. The loan officer will verify your source of income, look at your assets, and examine your credit score and payment history, so they will need items like pay stubs, W-2 forms, and bank statements to get rolling.
Determine What You Need in a House
After you have worked with your mortgage lender to get pre-approved and determine your price range, you can start the house-hunting journey. This is also the perfect time to create your starter home wish list. This tool will help you determine what you must have in your new house in addition to what you are willing to compromise on. Items on this checklist include things like number of bedrooms, bathrooms, but also things like having a yard, finished basement, or walk-in closets. Get started today by using our handy checklist!
Don’t Empty the Bank
Even if you have saved up your down payment and found the loan option that works best for you, make sure you have a solid emergency fund, too. Your emergency fund should amount to several months of what the mortgage payments would be. This will safeguard against any potential surprises once you get the house, like a brand-new water heater going kaput.
Need help in getting started? Contact one of our experienced loan officers today!