Buying a house can seem like a daunting experience. It will most likely be the single most expensive purchase that most of us will make. It can also be the most rewarding investment that a person can make. What do you think about when you consider buying your first home? Do you think about how many bedrooms you need? What schools do you want your kids to attend? Are you looking for a house near public transportation? All of these are important things to think about, but there is one thing buyers need to do before you get into the details. A potential homebuyer needs to know how much house they can buy. If you don’t have cash in hand, that means a trip to the mortgage banker. If you have a good agent, you can relax. This won’t be as painful as you think.
If you’re like me, the thought of dealing with the mortgage broker gives you the heebie jeebies. There’s something that freaks a lot of us out about going in and having to share that much personal information with a total stranger. Most of us would rather share a picture of our underwear drawer on Facebook than let someone see our credit report. Pro-tip given to me from the mortgage desk: it’s not that scary. Just a phone call gets the ball rolling. Do you know your dates of employment? How much you get paid? Where you’ve lived for the last two years? Then you’re off to a great start! Most preapprovals happen within 6 hours. Prequalification letters are an automated process that can help your real estate agent fine tune the houses that they show you, making the process efficient and easy! Be sure to have the following paperwork on hand to finish the financial process:
- 1 month of current pay stubs
- 3 years of Federal Tax returns
- 60 days of full bank statements
Determining your buying power is the single most important factor in your buying process. There is no sense in searching for a home until you know what your price range is. Most often this is the cog in the process that buyers fear the most. Looking at the price of a home, one might think that there is no way they can afford to buy. Without checking with a professional, they have already boxed themselves in, they believe that they cannot buy a house, and are doomed to throwing their money away, renting a house, and never building equity. For many people, this is the furthest thing from the truth. Even if there are credit problems, a good lender can counsel a potential buyer, and assist in the credit rebuilding process. Lenders tend to do this as a free service because they want your business. Take advantage of this!
Whether you are tired of throwing your money away on rent, or you are just moving up from a smaller house, buying a new home is an exciting and worthwhile experience. Take the time to plan your strategy, and you will have ironed out the kinks before they even start. Good luck, and happy homebuying!