What should you do before you begin looking for a new house?
People who are looking to buy their first home and those who are looking for a new house should practice due diligence and do their research before even looking at listings. Expert homebuyers suggest that you arm yourself with all the information you need to avoid any potential problems along the way. So, how exactly should you start? Here are three of the most important things that you should do before you begin your search.
Clean up your credit. You need to pull your credit reports and check for any mistakes. Pay off any unpaid bills, no matter how small they may be. In case you cannot settle your unpaid bills, try negotiating with your creditor to take it off your credit report. Keep in mind that a higher credit score means lower down payment and monthly payments so aim for a credit score of 680 or higher to get good rates on the market.
Find a great real estate agent. Instead of looking for a property you like and then calling the real estate agent who represents it, you should consider doing it the other way around. Look for agents who are working in the area you want to live and interview them to find one whom you would like to work with. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time with this person so you need to choose one whom you can trust and get along with.
For best results, try to look for an agent who understands the local housing market, has a vast network of contacts, pays attention to details and has an extremely engaging personality. Your agent should also prioritize your need over their commission, work on your timeline, proactively look for opportunities to expand your options and make sure you understand everything.
Get preapproved for a mortgage. To avoid any frustrations, you need to be preapproved for a mortgage before you start looking for a house. Keep in mind that a mortgage preapproval is not the same thing as a mortgage prequalification. A mortgage prequalification provides a rough estimate of how much mortgage you can afford based on details you provide about your credit, income, assets and debts while a preapproval entails the exhaustive examination of all your finances. As such, a mortgage preapproval gives the seller a proof of your ability to buy. Without it, you may find a house that you love only to get your offer rejected.