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Want to Buy a Home in 2017? Do These Five Things Now!

Want to Buy a Home in 2017? Do These Five Things Now!

We may only be nearing the end of the first month of the year, but something is becoming pretty obvious; 2017 is going to be your year – to buy a home, that is! If you’ve got plans to purchase a home at any point this year, now is the time to start prepping for that process.

Here are five things you can do now to ensure a smooth home-buying process in 2017:

1. Get Comfy with Your Credit

When you’re planning to buy a home, it is a wise idea to obtain a copy of your credit report. This way, you’ll know your credit score and whether or not you should be working to make it higher. A higher credit score = a better APR when it comes time to get a mortgage. Once you obtain a copy of your credit report, carefully scan it over to make sure that it is accurate. If you find a discrepancy, don’t wait to dispute it!

Once you’re comfortable with your accurate credit report, work on making it even better! When you’re planning to buy a home, lenders will note your current available credit. So, closing a credit card simply for the sake of closing it just doesn’t make much sense. Leaving an open line of credit with little-to-no balance shows you have credit to spend – and the restraint not to overextend yourself!

Speaking of overextending yourself when you’re planning to buy a home, you’ve got to avoid the urge to open new lines of credit – this includes everything from car loans to impromptu financing for appliances and furniture you’ll want in your new home. Simply put, wait to purchase those items until you’ve closed on your new home. In the meantime, boost your credit score by continuing to make more-than-minimum payments on time each month!

2. Save Some Money

If you’ve already put a check mark in the “excellent credit” category, start focusing on your savings. There are many mortgage options out there, but pretty much every one will require some kind of a down payment (typically ranging anywhere from 5-20% of a home’s purchase price). In addition to that upfront money, you’ll likely also have to put up some money at closing. If you haven’t already been saving money for these home-buying expenses, start now!

3. Seek a Lender and Mortgage Pre-Approval

Just as there are many types of home mortgages out there, there also are many types of financial lenders. The federal government offers loan options, as do banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. So, when you’re looking for mortgage pre-approval, seek out a few different sources to find the one that will offer you the best rate and terms. Once you find the right lender, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This is not – and should not – be confused with getting pre-qualified or actually obtaining a mortgage, but it will give you an accurate idea of what price range you’ll be able to afford when you begin searching for homes.

4. Select a Real Estate Agent

These days, even mentioning the fact that you are considering buying a home will elicit an array of advice on the process and, likely, even a few suggestions on real estate agents. While it is certainly nice to have a few referrals, finding a trusted real estate professional, who you are happy to work with, can be a bit of a personal process. You can take recommendations from family members or friends, but be sure to follow those up by interviewing a few agents. Find someone who is familiar with the area where you want to buy and who will best represent your home-buying interests.

5. Know What’s Important to You

Now for the fun part! If you’re following our advice, you’ve got your credit and savings in order; plus, you’ve got lender pre-approval and a reliable real estate agent. The only thing left to do is decide what home features you want to look for – and look past! You want to be able to arm your real estate agent with as much information as possible about what you’re looking for in a home. If a three-car garage and finished basement are must-haves in your mind, make sure you communicate those facts. If you can’t bear the thought of living outside the city, make sure your agent isn’t trying to show you properties you wouldn’t even think of considering! Create a list of features that you can and cannot do without. The home-search process will be easier on you and your agent!

It goes without saying that there are a lot of steps involved in buying a home. As you can see, there also are a lot of steps involved in preparing for that big purchase! So, if you’ve set a goal of buying a home in 2017, start taking the steps today to make sure you meet that goal this year!

Learn more about Pittsburgh Real Estate and your 2017 home-buying process started now.