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The Commonwealth Blog

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Initial Steps to Take When You Start House Hunting

You’re taking the first steps toward buying a home—a thrilling and scary decision. There are several initial steps you need to take before embarking on your home search to prepare yourself for the journey ahead. Home buying can be complicated and emotional, but properly prepping will help you have all the pieces in place. Following our advice and taking these initial steps can help you avoid mistakes in your purchasing process.

It’s normal to be worried when purchasing your first home, but by working through these steps, you’ll gain confidence and feel more comfortable buying a house.

Get a Credit Check

Before you even start searching for a home or decide what your budget is, check your credit. Use these tips to improve your credit score before buying a home. You can check your credit score for free with your credit card issuer, or by using a free site like CreditKarma. Paying down your credit cards, making on-time payments, and eliminating any large debts will help you improve your score.

Develop a Budget

Even before you go to get a mortgage pre-approval, decide the maximum amount you can afford to spend on a home: total and monthly. Determine what your down payment will be, what kind of mortgage term you want, and what you’re looking for in a home.

Search for Homes Online

Once you’ve figured out your budget, you can start looking for homes online. This process will give you a better sense of what your budget will get you and present you with some listings you can ask your Realtor to take you to. Use your online searches to stay on top of listings and forward anything you’re interested in to your Realtor as soon as you see it come on the market.

Get Your Team Together

Whether you decide you just want a Realtor, or you want to use a mortgage broker and real estate attorney as well, it’s important to have a solid team behind you. An experienced Realtor will help you find a home that meets your needs, a mortgage broker will assist you in finding the lowest rate, and a real estate attorney can help sort through all the legalese. You decide what’s essential for you. However, first-time home buyers should always rely on Realtors for help in buying their first home.

Meet with Mortgage Lenders and Get Pre-Approved

Before you set out on your house hunt, you need to get pre-approved for your mortgage, through your bank or another lender. Shop around for the best rate, and you can save tens of thousands over the life of your mortgage. You want to make sure you get a true pre-approval and not a prequalification. You’ll need to provide income verification, credit information, and other financial information for a preapproval, so be ready.

Once you’ve gotten all these initial pieces together, you’re ready to start your home search. Work with your Realtor to schedule showings and find the right home for you.

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