January 4, 2014 11:55 am
It’s not uncommon for home buyers to start the home buying process before checking if the finances are in good order. It often results in disappointment particularly for First Time Buyers. Although homeownership is often less expensive than renting, saving for the down payment and building a healthy credit score takes time and cannot be done overnight.
Bottom line: if owning your own home is on your 2014 to-do-list start preparing yourself early and go talk to a loan officer. Loan officers have a wealth of info for you to achieve your goals.
1. Start by collecting your free annual credit report at http://annualcreditreport.com. If mistakes appear correct them immediately. The correction may take a while before it reflects on your credit score.
2. Pay down or pay off all Credit Card debt. If you are tempted to use your credit card(s) remove all but one or two. Put the rest in the freezer, literally.
3. If you haven't done so already, start saving for a down payment and closing costs.
4. Talk to a qualified loan officer, bank or mortgage broker, about your buying power. Request to become pre-approved. A pre-approval is a written guarantee by a lender to grant you a loan up to a specified amount. Don't forget to ask about all fees and costs. Be prepared to show numerous documents (pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, etc.).
5. Now that you know your buying power start driving through neighborhoods or search online, and make your list of needs and wants.
6. Contact a real estate agent specializing in buyer representation to open the doors of your dream homes and to negotiate on your behalf.
If moving to Metro Atlanta, I'll gladly show you around and help you achieve your dream. If you don't know a loan officer, I can recommend a few.