Here at the Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team, we have put together the top five things you need to do to be ready to spring into homeownership. So, follow this path and you will be ready to make the biggest investment of your life!
1. Get Your Credit Report
You won’t be able to figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you are. There are two agencies where you can get your credit report: Equifax and TransUnion. Both offer credit monitoring. You can get a copy of your credit report on their websites. A credit report looks a potential borrowers’ previous credit history around repayment, utilization, credit inquiries, and the mix of the credit they have. It’s one of those things that the lenders are looking to evaluate each individual client and then move forward from there.
2. Get Pre-approved
A mortgage pre-approval is valuable because it means your documentation has been verified to approve a specific loan amount (usually for a particular period, such as 90 days). Getting pre-approved can also speed up the process. Home purchase agreements always have conditions attached to them, and one of the most common is financing. Having a pre-approved mortgage means you have the option to strike that as a condition and negotiate down your price based on your ability to complete the transaction with fewer complications.
At the end of the day, having a pre-approved mortgage means you are prepared, and there are fewer surprises that can creep up. You can shop being confident that you have your affairs in order, and enjoy making home ownership a reality.
3. Set a Budget
Ok, so you have your credit report and you got pre-approved. That is a great start. Your pre-approval will tell you what loan amount you have been approved for, but there is more to it than that. Do you want to take a vacation every year? Two trips? What about your car(s)? How long do you plan to drive them? Are you thinking of getting a new car soon? And the kids? Hockey is expensive. Well, everything is expensive.
Look beyond your pre-approval and really feel comfortable with your monthly commitments and plans you have for the future. A budget will help you with this. Do it.
4. Know Your Neighborhoods
If buying your first home means you are moving to a new neighborhood, it is important to know that neighborhood. Drive around the neighborhood at different times of day. Is there more traffic than you expected? How noisy is it? Do the neighbors seem friendly? Lots of dogs? That might be a good thing for you or a bad thing.
How will moving to this neighborhood affect your commute to work? Is the public transportation good from your front door. Are their intersections that get slammed with traffic that will affect your commute time? The time and energy you put into testing out the neighborhood in advance will pay off in the long run.
5. What are Your Must-haves and Nice-to-haves?
This is important information for your realtor. What are those things your new home must have and what are those things your new home would be nice to have? While things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms might be obvious, what about the size of the yard? Is a fenced yard important to you? A cul-de-sac? Close to certain amenities? They say size matters, so how big of a kitchen do you actually need? Or want? The more information you can provide your realtor, the better use of time as you will be viewing homes that check off your must-haves and hopefully many of your nice-to-haves!
Spring into Homeownership
We’ve given you lots of work to do, so get at it. If any of this seems intimidating or confusing, rest assured that the Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team is here to help you with every step of this exciting time. So don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions that you might have. We created this path to help you spring into homeownership, and we are here to help!