Fast Track to Buying Your Next Home

  • March 11, 2015

When you’re ready to buy a home, even if you’ve been through the experience before, there’s a lot you need to know. You’ll want a team of experts to rely on to help guide you through the process as smoothly as possible so you can turn that “dream” of owning the home you really want into something even more special. Reality. Follow these steps to help you get there.
 
1. Choose your real estate partner.
 
From understanding your local market to negotiating deals to navigating real estate laws and contracts, your real estate professional is one of the most important members of your home buying team. So choose carefully: ask for referrals from people you trust. Then check the agent’s background and success record yourself.
 
2. Choose your mortgage partner.
 
For first time and experienced homebuyers alike, the mortgage is typically the largest and most complex financial transaction most people will ever make. You’re making a substantial commitment for years, even decades. So you’ll want to be sure your mortgage partner has your best interests at heart. Ask a lot of questions and be sure you understand your options and obligations.
 
3. Get pre-approved.
 
Nothing tells a home seller you’re more serious than a pre-approval letter from your mortgage lender. So get one! Then shop with the confidence of a cash buyer. (Remember, a pre-approval letter is not an actual mortgage commitment but rather an “up to” loan amount that you could qualify for based on what your lender knows about you at the time.)
 
4. Start house hunting.
 
Be sure to target only those homes that fit your price range (refer back to your mortgage pre-approval letter). Most of all, picture yourself living in the home for several years. Meet the neighbors. Check out local shopping, entertainment and other services. Does it feel like home?
 
5. Negotiate the sale.
 
If you’ve found the right home, it’s time to make an offer. Rely on your agent to help you determine a price based on local market conditions and comparable homes that have recently sold in the area. Expect the home seller to “counter” your initial offer. That’s normal, and your agent will help you decide what to do next. Remember it’s always okay to walk away if the price is too high.
 
6. Close the deal and move in!
 
Your mortgage lender will walk you through everything you need to do, so you can close the deal on your new home and mortgage as quickly and smoothly as possible.
 
7. Protect your credit.
 
Be sure you make your monthly mortgage payments on time, every time. Even one missed payment could have a substantial impact on your credit rating. If you believe you may have difficulty making your monthly payments at some point, be sure to tell your mortgage lender as quickly as possible. The longer you wait to work it out, the fewer options your lender will be able to offer you.

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