Know what you can afford to spend on a monthly mortgage taking into account all your monthly expenses. Keep in mind you will need a down payment and money for closing costs and other fees such as a home inspection.
You could order a Credit Report ahead of time to be sure your credit is in good standing. Be sure to review it for mistakes and issues.
Try to resolve these matters so when the mortgage company pulls your report these will no longer be issues. Credit scores are important as they determine what your interest rate will be.
You will need to choose a mortgage broker or bank and get Pre-approved. Most sellers today will not entertain an offer from a buyer who has not been pre-approved. Some don’t even won’t to have their time wasted by showing their home to someone who has not been pre-approved. They won’t see you as a serious buyer. A seller may feel that a serious buyer would already have started the mortgage process so as not to waste time or loose out on a house they love because the didn’t take the first step to home ownership!
You will need to supply the mortgage company with, employment info, check stubs for wages, savings, CD, 401K’s, tax returns, etc. You will need to supply them with your current debt info such as car payments, credit card debt, outstanding loans, etc. It would be wise to have a folder together with all this information prior to sitting down with a mortgage broker.
The Mortgage broker or bank will discuss your loan options which will help in determining what you will need for a down payment.
Find an agent: Once you have decided to buy a home it’s time to choose your Real Estate Agent. Choosing an agent who is the best fit for you is important. You want someone who you feel comfortable with, someone you feel is trustworthy, someone who will do the best job for you. You need someone who listens to your wants and needs, one you feel will be able to negotiate on your behalf and advise you. This is one of the biggest decisions of your life you shouldn’t have to worry about whether your agent is doing their best for you. Keep in mind the agent with the most experience isn’t necessarily the best choice for you. You can always ask for referrals.
First thing you need to know: Where do you want to live? Narrow it down, check out the crime for the area you are interested in, get the local paper and review their police and fire log. Go to the police station and ask what the crime level is in the neighborhoods you are interested in. Ask about sex offenders in those areas. If you have children that are school age or are planning on having children, go on line and Google school ratings to see how the school system is rated.
Put a list together with your need to haves, such as how many bedrooms, bathrooms, garage under or attached, private lot, big yard, etc… Also put a list together of your nice to haves, such as an in-ground pool, master suite with sitting area and large walk-in closet, office, finished basement, etc… Put them in the order of importance to you.
Once you find your home, make an offer, and have it accepted, you are in contract and on your way to being a home owner! Send your signed contract (purchase and sale agreement) over to your mortgage broker so he/she can schedule an appraisal and get the wheels in motion. You will need to schedule a home inspection (your agent will most likely have a list she can supply you with). You will have to choose a Title Attorney to do the title work and closing. The mortgage company has a list of approved attorneys for you to choose from, however, this doesn’t mean you can’t choose an attorney who has been recommended to you or that you have used in the past. You will just need to advise the Mortgage Broker so she can get the appropriate information from your attorney to get approval for him/her to do the closing.
After inspections, agreements and approvals it’s time for the closing! Make sure you have your driver’s license, and bank check, for any funds you need to bring to closing. Please be sure and have the check made payable to yourself. They attorney will have you sign it over at closing. The reason they do it this way, is just in case there are any issues… you will have your funds.