Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life which means it is important to be ready for such a big step. This is an expensive, long term commitment that will carry you into the next chapter of your life. So, before you turn the page to the next chapter, here are some things to think about.....
What is your budget?
Based upon what you are currently paying for rent or a mortgage, you can gather a rough estimate of what you can afford for a monthly payment. The best way to know what kind of budget you will be working with is to talk to a lender about pre-approval. Speaking with a lender and getting a pre-approval letter is one of the most important steps in the process of purchasing a home. This will help you understand the financial aspect of purchasing, give you an estimated monthly payment, and provide you with a type of loan.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a home buyer is searching for homes outside of your price range. This makes having a pre-approval letter very important so you can avoid falling in love with a home that is out of your budget.
Understanding your finances
It is important to know that your lender will be taking a look into your financial matters once you start moving forward with the pre-approval process. Such items as bank records, previous tax records, credit scores, and debt to income will all be carefully examined by your lender. These items are all combined to help determine if you qualify for a loan but will also help determine which type of loan you receive.
Here are the important parts of your finances you should understand.
- Understand your credit score and credit history, know that delinquent payments will harm you credit score.
- Know about any current debt that you may have, such items as student loans, car loans, credit card debt, and any other types of loan or debt in the borrowers name.
- Know your income, make sure you can verify your income with items like previous tax records or paycheck stubs. They will also want to know your employment history, if you have not been employed at the same place long term.
- Know how much is in your bank account for your down payment and closing costs, they will want to verify the amount of money you have saved to contribute towards your future home.
know your don't wants and must haves
Every person is unique when deciding the items they want and don't want in their future home. It is always helpful to make a list of the most important don't wants and must haves for your home. Making this list will help when it comes time to schedule some showings and see some prospective homes.
The most important items to have should go under your must haves list and the don't wants list should be items you don't want in your home. A common saying "if you love 80% of it, can live with 10% of it, and can change 10%, then you have found the perfect home."
where do you want to live?
Maybe you want to live in the same part of town, maybe you want to move across town, or maybe you're new to town. No matter where you want to live, it is important to have an idea where you want your home to be located. After all, this is a long term investment and you will want to make sure you are happy where you live.
Our website offers some great information about all of the neighborhoods in the Grand Rapids area. Check out the featured neighborhoods page to learn more about the 32 neighborhoods throughout Grand Rapids.
WHAT IS your timeline
Along with making sure you have your finances, desired locations, and must haves in order, you want to make sure you have created a timeline for yourself. Creating a timeline will help keep you on track when it comes time to purchase a home.
If you are renting and know your move out date, you will want to make sure you stick to your timeline so you are not left without a place to live. It is important to start your search about six months before you have to be into your new home. This will give you time to find a home, close on the home, give the current owners their possession time, and move before you have to be out of your other place.
Have a few questions? Don't hesitate to contact us at anytime!