You know you want to buy, you just need to figure out when is the best time. But you’ve been giving it a lot of thought and it’s something you want to do soon. Don’t wait until right before, do these 3 things now to get ready to buy.
- Know your credit score – It can be a little intimating, but knowing this three-digit number can make or break your ability to get a mortgage and will affect how much money you can borrow and what the bank will charge you for that money. A higher credit score will give you a lower interest rate and make your monthly payments cheaper. A lower score will give you a higher interest rate and make your payments more expensive. Knowing your score will also give you an idea of whether it makes sense to work on strengthening your credit before applying for a mortgage. There are some easy convenient ways to check your score. Not only will they tell you what it is but will give you tips on improving it! Credit Karma and Nerd Wallet are just a couple.
- How much do you have to put down and how much can you afford – consider getting preapproved – The down payment is the upfront cash you pay toward your home purchase. It can feel overwhelming, saving up all that money to put down on a house. However, there are a lot of programs that can help with down payment assistance and closing costs. Talk to a lender to see what your choices are and then decide how much you’ll need to save. It’s also a good idea to plan to keep your housing expenses to no more than 28% of your monthly gross income. This will ensure that you are able to afford your dream house and still have money left over to have a life outside your house too!
- What kind of area do you want to live in? Walkable? Neighbors? Pool access? No lawn maintenance? Start considering what are the must haves – It helps to know where you want to live, but if you are not sure do a little exploring. Every city has distinct neighborhoods with their own personalities. How you want to live will help your Realtor find the best house for you. Consider how far are you willing to commute to work? What types of amenities do you want nearby? Do you want a busy neighborhood with restaurants within walking distance or a quiet suburban spot? Maybe you need a cul de sac for the kids! Knowing a bit about how you want to live will help narrow down the selection.