So you want to buy your first house and you have concerns. The biggest one may be whether or not you will qualify for a mortgage. What should you do?
As soon as you can, you should order a credit report. The only source authorized by Federal law is www.annualcreditreport.com. This is a free report from the three main credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, Experian – that you are entitled to request once every year. Review the information on each report and submit any errors you find to the credit bureaus in writing. This will take some time, so start early.
You should also contact several qualified mortgage companies/brokers/loan officers to see if you will qualify for a mortgage. If you don’t qualify, ask what you need to do to qualify and how long it may take to get your finances in order.
When you do qualify, you will want to know how much you will be able to borrow. This is important information for you and your buyers’ agent to have when you are ready to start looking at homes. You don’t want to fall in love with the perfect property and find out later that it’s way over your budget. You should also ask about loan products they have, which ones would be best for you, and what your costs will be to obtain a mortgage. Compare to see who has the best deal.
Wow, this is all so overwhelming!
It can be, but when you work with a professional buyers agent, they will guide you through every step from the home search right through closing and getting the keys to your new home. Your buyers’ agent can give you information on the local area and show you homes which meet your criteria for the perfect place to live. The local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) may have details about properties that are not always available to the general public that your buyers’ agent can share with you.
When you are under contract, your buyers’ agent is a good source for professional services you will need before completing the purchase – inspectors, attorneys, insurance companies.
How will I know if I got the best deal?
Back to working with a qualified professional. In addition to helping you find the perfect home, your buyers’ agent will help you decide how much to bid on the property by researching comparable homes (comps) in the area that are for sale and ones that have sold in the last three months and suggest a range for your first offer.
In addition, your buyers agent will suggest other items to include in your offer that can be negotiated – a seller paid one year home warranty, those rocking chairs on the front porch that you love, the refrigerator or washer and dryer, seller paid closing costs.
It is rare that first offers are accepted. Your buyers’ agent will negotiate in a professional manner and act as your advocate during the process to get you the best deal possible.
So you want to buy your first house! Go for it, but be sure you are working with a mortgage and real estate professional that have your best interests in mind and with whom you feel comfortable.
If you are in the market to buy a home or just considering your options, it costs nothing to learn more. Call or email Linda for a free, no-obligation, no pressure consultation – 910.409.3519, Linda@LindaMehner.com.