Purchasing a home is a HUGE undertaking. It definitely gives knew meaning to the saying “You don’t know what you don’t know,” so it helps to do your homework!
Set up for success from the start
Getting your credit score in the best possible shape will help you get a better mortgage rate. You’re entitled to a free credit report each year. Keep in mind that not all credit issues will keep you from being pre-approved for a mortgage.
Getting pre-approved will make the whole process go more smoothly and make your offer more desirable to a seller. There are a few things that can affect pre-approval like your credit score, employment history and income, assets, and current debt-to-income ratio.
If your credit report shows that you do not have a good credit history, talk to your lender. Not all credit issues will keep you from being pre-approved. Your lender can give you suggestions on how to re-establish credit. It is important to keep in mind, though, that adverse credit information may affect your interest rate.
Once your loan information is approved, you will receive a pre-approval letter that is good for 90 days.
Finding an agent
Once you know that you qualify for a mortgage, it’s time to start shopping. Real estate agents streamline the home buying process by finding properties that may not be listed online and helping buyers navigate regulations and laws. Not only are you getting professional expertise, but this person is a great source for vendors such as inspectors, workmen for bids, and even lender referrals.
Many people don’t realize that it doesn’t cost buyers anything to have a real estate agent in the state of Missouri. The seller pays the commission.
Making an offer
Once you find a home you like, your agent should help you to put together an offer that will be formalized in the purchase and sales agreement, a binding contract between you and the seller.
Consider how aggressive you want to be in negotiations and how competitive the market is (after all, until your offer has been accepted, the seller can take other offers). If you’re hoping to conserve cash, then consider making a stipulation that the seller contribute to closing costs — the amount varies depending on the type of mortgage and down payment amount, but can range from 3 to 9 percent of the sale price.
When it finally is time to close, you’ll sign a massive stack of papers, exchange checks and keys, and be on your way. You’re finally free to breathe easy and post that new HOMEOWNER selfie to social media!
HOME BUYING ACTION PLAN
- Determine your price range
- Select a lender and get pre-approved
- Select a real estate agent
- Find “the house” and negotiate a contract
- Get the home inspected
- CLOSE & Move in!