Q: I've made a New Years Resolution that 2017 is the year I become a homeowner. What do I need to do to ensure I meet my goal? What do I need in order to buy a home?
A: First of all, congrats on establishing a wonderful and attainable goal for yourself! I know you can do it and here are some steps that will help you get ready!
- Find out your credit score and improve it! You will need a good credit score in order to secure a loan to purchase a home. Your credit does not have to be perfect, but it will need to be good (typically over 600) to get a loan. The best way to find out what score you will need and how to meet it is to speak with a lender.
- Start saving for a down payment now. The more down payment you have, the better off you will be. The down payment combined with your credit score shows your lender you are responsible enough to loan a large sum of money to for a home. It will be easier to qualify for your loan and could help you get a better interest rate! Don't forget you will also need to save for closing costs, unless you can get a seller to contribute toward them.
- Don't miss any bills/payments in the coming months and don't buy anything new on credit. If you need to build your credit, typically you will be advised to get a credit card to use toward things you already purchase (gas, groceries, etc.) and pay it off every month. Don't go buy a new car, furniture, etc. on credit. It will affect what is called your "debt to income ratio" and will make it more difficult to qualify for a loan. You want to show the lender you are stable and can afford your monthly payment.
- Start to study your local market now. No need to scour the web for homes daily. Just contact a local realtor, like myself, and we can answer questions you have and set you up to receive the most up to date data to help your search. The market is changing daily, but if you start seeing what is on the market in your price range early, you will know what to expect when you are ready to go look at homes. A good realtor can help you become a more informed buyer upfront, so you know what to keep an eye out for when your home search gets to be serious business!
I hope this helps answer some of your questions! Feel free to comment below. If you or someone you know needs help navigating the home buying process, please email or call me!