5 Tips You Should Know Before Buying A House

By: Nicholl McGuire

Too often potential home buyers will spend more time telling everyone what type of house they plan to buy and in what area, but not enough time researching their personal finances, the cost to buy, the location or the real estate market. They will visit a realtor's office with no real plan other than what type of house they want and information about where they work. Before, wasting valuable time and money, prepare yourself before you walk into anyone's office by doing the following:

1. Know your personal finances and contributions to your home purchase. Make copies of your last four weeks of pay stubs, bank statements, and references. If you know that you may leave your job, possibly be laid off or the company may be closing, you may want to reconsider buying a house. However, if none of this applies to you, consider how much you have in savings and investments and make copies of these statements as well. Also, research first time home buying programs that offer down payment assistance.

2. Know what is on your credit reports from all three agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union). Pull your credit reports and make copies, this way you can prevent lowering your score with too many inquiries from lenders. Begin to pay off unpaid balances, dispute any charges that you haven't made and pay off credit cards.

3. Know what you want. Make a list of features in a house you must-have, would like and not want. Decide on a location and research on how the equity has increased in your area. Consider the price range you can afford. Ask yourself what mortgage payment would you like to make on the house? Some banks offer a free online calculator at their websites to determine home affordability.

4. Know a mortgage broker instead of a mortgage lender & get pre-approved. The broker will work with many different mortgage companies, while the lender will just represent one. He or she will verify that you can indeed purchase a home loan in a specific price range. To obtain a pre-approval, a lender evaluates your credit history, and calculates your housing and debt ratios. You should expect to verify your income, length of employment and source of down payment.

5. Know a Real Estate Agent. In most states, a real estate agent must disclose which party he or she works for. When you contact an agent, verify that the agent can work as a buyer's agent. They should not disclose confidential information about you to the seller's agent. Ask the agent about his or her services if you. Also, request a blank copy of the buyer agency contract and study it. Don't let anyone pressure you into signing an agreement that doesn't feel right.
A good agent will walk you through the process and return your calls quickly.

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