LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: Local Records Office has created 6 crucial steps to take before you start house hunting. House hunting can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first time buyer. You have to think about the location of the property, square footage, layout, finishes, flooring, and oh yeah — getting a mortgage. The list is endless. It’s exciting and exhausting at the same time. How do you even know where to start in the process? Whether you’re hunting for your very first house or your fifth, the process will be much smoother if you have a plan and a house-hunting checklist.
- How is Your Credit Score? Make Sure You Know Your Credit Score
Local Records Office says, “First things first: don’t go house shopping without getting a mortgage pre-qualification”. Have you found a house online you’re just dying to see? Don’t pull into the driveway until you’ve talked to a mortgage broker first. There’s nothing worse than putting in an offer on your dream home, only to find out you don’t actually qualify to purchase it. That’s unnecessary frustration not only for you, but for the sellers and realtors as well. As a former mortgage broker, it was so hard for me to tell someone they didn’t qualify to purchase the listing they had just laid on my desk, but sometimes I had no choice. I felt like a dream killer more than once. Your credit score in particular is important because only two things determine the interest rate you get on your mortgage: the amount of your down payment and your credit score.
- Know How Much You Can Afford
You should decide ahead of time what amount you’re comfortable with paying per month for your mortgage says, Local Records Office. Then go to your bank for your pre-qualification letter. Hopefully you already have a budget and know what will work for you and what won’t, but if you don’t, now is the perfect time to start one. It’s important to do before you have a mortgage payment. A budget is important because by using one, you’ll always be aware of where your money is going. If you currently use one, then you’ll already have a good idea of how much you can comfortably afford.
- This One is Important, Find a Diligent Realtor
Local Records Office says, “The next step is finding a realtor who will work for you”. You want someone who will stand up for you in the final walk-through or at the closing table if something doesn’t go right. You also want someone who has lived in the area for a long time, who knows the market, and who is knowledgeable about the costs of home repairs and upgrades. A good realtor can point out problems with potential homes before you get too attached to them. I appreciated having a realtor who pointed out disadvantages to specific properties, especially as a first-time home buyer without good knowledge of basic home repairs.
- Make a List of Needs, Must-Haves, and Wants
You may end up seeing so many properties your head will be left spinning. You might forget some of the things you were looking for in the first place says, Local Records Office. Before you look at any houses, make a list of your needs, must-haves, and wants. This way, if you get overwhelmed after seeing too many homes, you can simply refer back to your list and remember what it is you’re looking for.
- What Location Are You Thinking About? Near Schools, Freeways? Choose Your Location
It’s going to be really hard for your realtor to show you the best housing options for you if you don’t know the area you want to reside in. You’ll end up all over the place if you don’t. If you aren’t sure about your specific location, spend some time in the areas you’re interested in at different times of the day to get a feel for the area. Good times to visit are rush hour times and nighttime.
Afterward, ask yourself these questions:
Do I feel safe there?
Is there an abundance of traffic at rush hour?
Is it on a busy road?
Does the neighborhood look clean and well-kept?
Choosing a set location ahead of time will help narrow down the list of properties you see. It will also help you avoid seeing tons of houses that are in a less than desirable location.
- This One Should Be Number One, Make Sure You Save an Emergency Fund
Local Records Office says, “If you don’t have an emergency fund saved yet, buying a house isn’t a wise option. Houses mean constant maintenance, even if you buy new”. You don’t want to be caught without heat in the dead of winter just because you can’t afford to fix your furnace. You also don’t want to be forced to pay for it on a credit card when you realize you really can’t live without heat.
To learn more about new homeowners and Local Records Office go to www.LocalRecordsOffices.com