The Ten Commandments of Buying a Home
To make the buying a home a little less stressful, learn the Ten Commandments of Buying a House.
- Maintain Steady Employment. Lenders like to see job stability. It's important for at least one of the applicants to hold a steady job. And the longer you stay at the same job, the better it looks when applying for a home loan.
- Limit Bank Account Activity. When you apply for a home loan, you'll need to produce bank statements. Lenders look for consistency each month, like steady deposits, regular bill payments, and no erratic spending.
- Continually Monitor Your Credit Score. This is so much easier than it used to be. Gone are the days of waiting for your free, yearly credit report to arrive in the mail. Websites are available to help you monitor your credit score--even offering great tips on how to improve it.
- Postpone Large Purchases. Unless you have money to burn, now is not the best time to purchase a car, motorcycle, new furniture or anything else that might make a lender nervous. The bank questioning a large purchase could slow down the loan application process.
- Save for a Down Payment. The sooner you start this, the better. A 20 percent down payment is what's recommended. Even if you qualify for no down payment, it's in your best interest to put some money down.
- Only Consider Homes Within Your Budget. We're all guilty of wanting more. But taking a peek at what's just a touch over your budget can be dangerous. Don't torture yourself. Embrace what you can afford.
- Research Various Neighborhoods. It's a good idea to visit different areas, even ones that may not be on your radar. Check what traffic patterns are like, where the schools are, quality of grocery stores, things that will make your everyday life more comfortable.
- Get Pre-Approved. Once your finances are strong and stable, it's a good idea to get a loan pre-approved. As a buyer, this gives you more leverage when the seller knows things aren't going to fall apart on your end after you make a bid.
- Resale History. While investigating the neighborhoods, review not only the resale info on the home but other comparable homes in the area. Have they gone up in value? How long do they sit on the market? Is there a cluster of homes up for sale in the same neighborhood? Your REALTOR® can help you with these questions, and the answers may give you better insight into what's happening in that area.
- Find a Real Estate Agent you Like and Trust. When you find a REALTOR®, you will share a lot of personal information with this person-- not to mention spend many hours with them. It's important to have good chemistry. And remember, thou shalt not carry the entire burden yourself. A great agent is always ready to help their clients through every step of the process.