By Laura Cohron
First Time Home Buyer’s Checklist:
1. Check your credit score.
This is the number that lenders will look at to determine if you are “credit-worthy.” The higher your score the lower your interest rate will be, which is what we want! Clean up any errors or blemishes on your report.
2. Calculate your monthly payment.
Use a mortgage calculator and determine what monthly payment you are most comfortable with (be sure to add a little extra for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance). Lenders look for a debt load of no more than 43 percent of your gross monthly income. This includes car loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.
3. Make a down payment plan.
Will you be able to put down a 20 percent down payment? Do you need to apply for an FHA loan with a 3.5 percent down payment? You can also use a financial gift from a friend or family member or a bonus as down payment funds. This will have to be in your account for 60 to 90 days prior to use as a down payment.
4. Research the neighborhood.
Is there public transportation? How is your commute to work? What’s the cost of living? Start visiting open houses to get a feel for the area. This will also help you determine the kind of house you can afford. Seeing possible homes will also help keep you motivated to keep paying down debt or to keep saving for that down payment!
5. Get pre-approved.
Make an appointment with your lender. Your lender will go over all of your paperwork (W2s, paystubs, tax returns, credit card statements, etc.) and run a credit check. This will tell you how much of a loan you are approved for. It often makes sense to borrow less than the maximum to allow for extras so you can live comfortably with your new mortgage payment.
6. Start shopping for your new home!!
Ready to shop? Contact Laura or any of our dedicated, experienced team to guide you through the process, every step of the way.
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