Buying a home is one of the most important life decisions we can make, and the process is similarly hefty – upwards of 6 months in the current market, sometimes taking even longer depending on other factors. But before you start on the home buying process, there are a few things you should know to make things easier down the road. Here are our top 5 things to know before buying a home.
Your Credit Score
Your credit score will determine your financing options, and to a large extent, your financing options will determine the price and quality of the home you buy. Pull your credit score as early as possible – we recommend 6 months before you plan to buy. This will give you time to fix any inaccuracies or to build up your score if it’s on the borderline.
Shop By Monthly Payment
Many buyers think of homes by their sticker price, but this is actually a backwards mentality: instead of thinking of a home by its overall cost, think about it in terms of monthly payments. This is a much more realistic picture of what you’ll actually be paying, and it makes the number much more tangible.
The Importance of Preapproval
Having all your ducks in a row before you start shopping is critical to buying the right home, and nothing achieves this like preapproval for a mortgage. By getting approved for a mortgage before looking for homes, you’re not only getting things in line so you’ll be able to close the deal when the time comes – you’re also getting a complete, realistic picture of what you can afford, including the down payment, monthly payment, and mortgage rate.
Location, Location, Location
The old adage is true: real estate is about location, and with a commitment as large as a home you’ll want one you really love. Take the time to think deeply about your own preferences and talk with your partner about what they want from a home – after all, you’re not just buying a place to live: you’re buying a community.
Don’t Be Afraid to Browse
Thanks to the treasure-trove of information that is the Internet, homebuyers have more information at their fingertips than ever before – and this is a big advantage for buying a home. See if the area you’re searching in has tools like this one for browsing the market, looking at home prices in a diverse range of locations, and watching for trends. The more information you have, the better of a choice you’ll make.