Many factors go into buying a home, and before you start shopping, a little careful planning can ensure your home-buying quest is as successful and efficient as possible. There are many questions you need to ask yourself, such as “How much can I afford?” and “Where do I want to live?”
loanDepot is here to help throughout the home finance process as you prepare to buy. Our licensed loan officers can answer any questions you may have and help you find the loan product best suited to your needs and situation.
Here are a few steps you will want to consider before you commit to that big decision:
Check your credit: When the time comes to apply for a home loan, you don’t want to be caught off guard by errors on your credit report. About six to 12 months out, make sure to pull a copy of your credit report and that of any co-borrower from all three reporting agencies. A free copy of your credit report is available once a year at annualcreditreport.com. Clean up any mistakes you can find and, if your score is not ideal, identify the issues and take measures to start improving it.
Make a budget: Even if you have enough for a down payment, it’s important to make sure you have money in reserves in case unexpected home repairs or moving expenses arise. Also, as a homeowner, you will be responsible for loan fees, property taxes and some utilities that may have been previously included in your rent, such as water and trash. For a rough estimate of what you can afford, check out loanDepot’s home affordability calculator.
Get pre-approved: Get touch with a licensed lending officer at loanDepot early in the home-buying process. These professionals can educate you about interest rates and low down payment mortgage options, which will help alleviate the stress of searching for a home.
Know what you want: Make a checklist of your own that lists common features and amenities. Break the list into two sections: “wants” and “needs.” Know in advance whether you want a turn-key home or a fixer-upper. This will help your real estate agent find the right home for you and your family and help to make sure you don’t settle for something that doesn’t meet your needs.
Find a real estate agent: A real estate agent or Realtor can increase your odds of finding the ideal home, according to the National Association of Realtors. With real-time access to the National Multiple Listing Services, real estate professionals can give you a leg up in the sometimes-competitive real estate market.
Avoid big purchases on credit: Before and during the home loan process, it’s important refrain from financing large purchases such as a car or furniture, in order to keep your debt-to-income ratio low. A maxed-out credit card or a large monthly car payment can derail your dream of homeownership.
Once you’ve followed these six steps, your dream of home ownership is within reach. Speak with a loanDepot licensed lending officer today about pre-approval for a home loan.
Published July 15, 2016
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