You’ve weighed up your options and have come to the decision that buying yourself a new home is the way forward. The home-buying process can be a daunting and challenging experience, but knowing what to expect is half the battle. Here, we aim to help you out with a quick list of 8 essential tips all home hunters should note in their journey towards home ownership. Let’s start with:
1. Check your credit score constantly
Before you even think about contacting a lender to try and arrange a mortgage, you’ll need to know your credit status is in good order. Your full credit report is based on the following criteria and is vital in determining the amount of interest you can expect to pay on your mortgage:
Your history making payments for bills.
The amount of new credit you may have applied for recently.
The types of credit you’ve been borrowing.
How long you’ve been borrowing money.
Your credit score will range from 350 to 850. The higher your credit score, the more confidence your lender will have in your ability to handle your mortgage and the lower your interest rate is likely to be. It’s best to continuously check your credit score before you start saving, while you save, and certainly just before applying to your choice of lenders.
2. Decide on a budget and stick to it
It can be very tempting, during your hunt, to consider raising your budget to match the prices of the swarms of fetching properties you’ll undoubtedly encounter. This can be very dangerous. The ideal approach is to work out what you can afford or how much you are willing to pay before hunting, then doing everything you can to stick to it. It’s always sensible to have a mortgage you are very comfortable paying, rather than pushing the boundaries of what you can afford.
3. Search for the perfect real estate agent to work with
Your real estate agent will be one of the most important people in your life throughout the home-buying process, so it’s vital to find one that you love working with. These days, it’s all about research. Check reviews online, interview the ones with the most potential and follow your gut as well as your brain in choosing the person's that will guide you through the entire endeavour.
4. Get pre-approved by your lender before starting any serious hunting
None of your offers will be taken seriously unless you have a lender that has pre-approved your mortgage. So there’s hardly any point in doing any hefty searching before you have this stage nailed. If you are not pre-approved and you place an offer on any popular properties, all the offers placed by others who are pre-approved will have a significant advantage over yours.
5. Look at as many prospects as you can
Some people will hate the process of viewing loads of different homes so are likely to only visit the ones that meet pretty much all of their preferences. It’s a good idea to view as many properties as you can, as long as they are all in line with your realistic aims. The more homes you see in person, the more you are likely to spot aspects of each home that you like and dislike, which effectively helps you narrow down your search criteria.
6. Shop around for lenders
The lender that provided your pre-approval doesn't have to be your final mortgage provider. When you are ready to actually apply for your loan, you should always get offers from several lenders to see who gives you the best interest rates.
7. Make full use of Home inspection day
This is the time given to you to arrange a formal inspection of the house. It gives you the chance to identify any damages that you hadn't noticed before and have them considered in the final negotiations with the owner. This is also likely to be the last decent amount of time you get in the property before the keys are handed over to you, so it’s a good time to take any vital measurements and mental images that will help you plan the move with more precision.
8. Sort insurance and power before your move
Nothing will ruin your moving day more than arriving at a house that is powerless. Make sure you have your utilities in place or arranged long before the big day. Insurance is also essential. In fact, lenders won't process the mortgage completely until you have homeowners insurance and have provided the correct insurance documentation to them. Get this ball rolling as soon as you can! Soon after your offer is accepted is a good time to begin getting on top of this. You’ll want to prevent any unnecessary delays leading up to your move-in day!