Guest post and photo from Melinda Schnare

Buying your first home is a very exciting time in your life and for your dog. But for now, let’s focus on you. Building equity through home ownership is without a doubt the way to go.

Before you start looking at properties, here are a few things you need to know:

Get organized.

Secure all of your recent pay stubs, get your bank statements together and find your last two years of tax returns. Because when you go to apply for your loan, the lender is going to ask for all of this information.

Selecting the right mortgage lender.

Buying a home is one of the most important and biggest financial transactions that you’ll make, so it’s important to understand the numbers going in. Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved are two different things. A mortgage lender will explain the differences, how much house you can afford, what your loan options are, and walk you through closing costs, mortgage insurance and the impact on your monthly budget.

Taking the time to speak with two or three mortgage lenders before you put an offer on a home can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Definitely don’t skip this step. But do be straight up that you are speaking with other mortgage lenders to secure the most favorable package.

What’s important to you?

So dream a little. Share your criteria with the real estate agent you’ve selected and see properties that are going to be a good fit for you. Make sure you consider resale value. The neighborhood, the style of the house, lot size, and proximity to transportation, schools and shopping are all-important.   

Do not wait too long to make an offer.

We are presently in a housing market that is low on inventory, and the good homes go very quickly. So be prepared to put an offer in when you see the one you like, and don’t delay. Most houses actually sell for fair market value or very close to that. So if you make an offer that’s lower than market value, the seller will in all probability not accept it.

Your realtor will provide an analysis to support what the home is worth. Working with a buyer’s agent is free to you as a homebuyer. There is a lot to a real estate transaction and rest assured your realtor will be there to guide you each step of the way.

Schnare is a real estate agent with RLAH Real Estate

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