If 2023 is the year you’ve decided to purchase a new home – whether as a first-time buyer or a seasoned home owner – the best time to start preparing is now. Following a few simple strategies will help place you in an ideal position to find a home that’s a good fit for you and your family.
Create a List of Must-haves
The best place to start if you are a first-time home buyer is to assess your needs, especially your future home location, size and amenities. Even seasoned home owners are attracted to idyllic home photos posted online, but the space may not meet their needs. Prioritizing must-haves will help you save significant time in the home buying process. Most home buyers will need to compromise on some home features to fit their budget.
Double Check Your Credit Score
Even if you’ve purchased a home previously, stricter credit requirements can be challenging for some buyers to find home loans. However, a favorable credit score can make a difference in your ability to be approved for a loan. Credit monitoring is always a good idea, even if you think nothing has changed recently on your credit report. If you are preparing to purchase a home, monitoring your credit will ensure you aren’t being unfairly penalized for old debts, which can sometimes linger on credit reports. Generally, borrowers with scores in the low 600s and even high 500s can still find lenders who will qualify them, but borrowers should strive for scores in the mid- to upper-700s to secure the best rate.
Determine What You Can Afford
Don’t let your maximum loan approval amount dictate your home-buying budget. You are the best person to determine what you can realistically afford. Experts say that your monthly home expenses should not exceed one-third of your gross monthly income. You’ll also need to determine how much you’ll need to cover any loan fees and closing costs.
Sell Your Current Home
If buying a new home is contingent on selling your current home, it’s a good idea to connect with your realtor sooner rather than later. An experienced realtor can advise you on the best strategy for selling your home at the right time and for the best price possible. In addition, you’ll want to identify any maintenance issues in your home and address them. You can also ask your realtor if upgrading your current home will generate a return on investment.
For more information about the home-buying process, contact your local association, here.