If buying a house is on your bucket list, there's no time like the present to "get into training" for your house hunt. Here are seven steps to follow so you can hit the ground running this year:
- Required Reading – So it's not really required, but researching real estate tips online is free, easy, and informative. Read blogs, peruse forums, and watch videos. Checking out real estate tips from various sources will allow you to consider the market from new perspectives and is sure to yield a few tricks that will come in handy when it's time to close the deal.
- Find the Right Real Estate Agent – Working with a trusted real estate agent will make life much, much easier when shopping for a home. Your agent should be reliable, answer your questions promptly, understand the realities of your local real estate market, and has a plan specifically for you.
- Set a Budget – Setting a budget and sticking to it are two very different things. It's important to choose a number that fits comfortably with your overall finances. With a clear idea of what you have to spend, your real estate agent can help you find the best value for your investment.
- Check Your Credit Report – When working to secure a loan, the last thing you want is to find out that some old debt that you'd completely forgotten about or an error on the part of the rating agency is now causing trouble with your credit score. Avoid those unpleasant surprises by checking your credit score ahead of time and taking care of any outstanding issues.
- Get Pre-Approved – Having your finances in order from the start is a great way to gain an edge in competitive markets. In addition to being very appealing to sellers, pre-approval will give you a very clear idea of the funds you'll have available to purchase your new home.
- Become a Neighborhood Expert – When shopping for a house, it's good to remember that you are also shopping for the right neighborhood. Fortunately, researching neighborhoods is one of the more fun aspects of house hunting. Start your research online, then take the opportunity to get out, meet your potential neighbors, and sample the local businesses that make a neighborhood special.
- Think Twice Before Opening New Credit Cards – If your credit is in good shape, the end of the year is a common time to be solicited for new credit cards. Even if the terms really are favorable, you'll probably want to take a pass. Opening new cards can cause issues when it's time to secure a loan.
With these tips, you'll be in perfect shape to buy your new dream home.