How Should I Prepare Myself to Buy a Home?

Looking for a new home can be really fun, and maybe that’s why when most people start thinking of buying a house, they start by looking at homes online and going to open houses.

If it has been a few years since you purchased a home, things have changed a bit and it pays to be aware of these changes. Since the recession and the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, banks have become more stringent in their lending standards,which has an effect on people buying a home. Here are some things you can do now to prepare:

  • Get a copy of your credit report – go to annualcreditreport.com and download a free report from each of the three credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Review and make sure everything is accurate. If there are discrepancies, get them cleaned up.
  • Determine your down payment source – will you be using proceeds from your current home for your down payment? A savings account? Borrowing money from a family member? Receiving a gift from a family member? Different paperwork is involved with each which your lender would be happy to go over with you.
  • Meet with a lender – your lender will primarily want to get a good picture of your financial status to determine the amount of loan you may qualify for.  Be prepared with proof of two years’ worth of income: that means pay stubs, check copies, independent contractor invoices, and other documents to verify your income.  Also bring statements showing your investment assets.

Your income and assets will be balanced with your debt and credit score to determine your loan qualifications.

If you’re thinking of beginning a home search, consider starting with a lender or ask your REALTOR® to recommend a good one to you.  Then, once you know how much home you can buy and how much home you want to buy, we can find the houses that match all of your search criteria best.