Buying a home together is a significant and exciting purchase for you and your spouse! Here are some tips to help you avoid any roadblocks along the way:
Polish Your Credit
Improving your credit before you start your search is a very smart move. Your credit score matters to lenders, and the higher your credit score the more likely you are to get a lower rate on a mortgage. Make payments on time, check your credit score online, and see what steps you can take to improve it.
If you start off by getting a pre-approval, you can sort by price, identify the right neighborhoods, and find your dream home much faster. Realtors prefer to work with those that are already pre-approved for a few reasons. They know the deal is less likely to fall through and they can have a more specified range of what you can afford, creating a simpler and faster process for you. Not to mention it will ease a lot of stress in the home buying process for you and your Realtor.
Discuss the Budget
What will your budget be? Determine what you can afford and stick within that range. This gives your realtor a more specified amount when he or she is searching for you.
Create a List of Wants and Needs
Decide on the essentials beforehand. How many bedrooms and bathrooms would you both like? Are you looking for a house in the suburbs or country? How important is it to be in close proximity to certain restaurants or stores? What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in? These are all important questions to answer together.
Save for a Down Payment
The higher your down payment is, the lower your loan and monthly payment will be. Here are some ways to start saving fast:
Pay off Debt
Got student loans? Credit cards? Car payments? You certainly don’t need to pay down all your debt before you buy a home, but paying down a large portion may be very helpful in reducing your monthly payments if you plan on getting a mortgage. It can also help you get a lower rate on your mortgage, with a lower debt to income ratio.
Find the Right Agent
Find an Agent that is right for you! Personal referrals are great sources as well as online reviews. Ask about their license, professional awards, current listings, etc. You will be communicating often with your agent and want to feel like they are the best fit for you.
Get a Home Inspection
You’ve found a home you love! Now what? Get a home inspection. This is a very important part of the process because it ensures that everything in the home is functioning properly and you won’t have any big surprises. It may save you money in the long term and will tell you unseen and unpredictable issues.
Lastly, don’t rush and trust your realtor. You want to be completely confident in your decision and allow a proper amount of time for each step in the process.