[ by HomeFinder ]
If you haven’t purchased a home before, the buying process can seem like a daunting task. It is, but don’t let that overwhelmed feeling deter you from buying your first home. Use this first-time homebuyer guide to help navigate the countdown to your purchase, whether you are one month or six months in to the process.
Six months prior to purchase:
- Check your credit score. Six months offers you ample time to improve your score if it falls short of a desirable number.
- Assess your finances and find out what you can afford. A simple rule of thumb is that the house price should be 2.5 times your yearly salary or less.
- When determining the price range for your new house, factor in how much of a down payment you will have, how much you can comfortably put toward your housing costs every month, and how much debt you can afford to pay off monthly. Fannie May recommends buyers spend no more than 28% of their total income on housing costs.
Five months prior to purchase:
- Get pre-approved for a loan. This will make your search more efficient, as you will know the exact price range for which you’ll be approved. It can spare you the heartbreak of finding your dream home and then realizing you won’t be approved.
Four months prior to purchase:
- Interview multiple real estate agents to find one who is the best fit for you. These introductory meetings will cost you nothing and give you confidence in the selection of this important advisor.
- Research the neighborhoods you are considering with mobile apps for homebuyers. These are excellent resources for insider information including location of necessities like restaurants, hospitals and banks, as well as stats on local schools, crime, public transportation and more.
- Once you find the neighborhood that best suits your lifestyle, the HomeFinder Real Estate app for Android can help speed up your on-the-go home search with an advanced GPS, easy-to-use map interface and auto-syncing.
Two to three months prior to purchase:
- Once you’ve found the perfect home, factor in the additional fees you will incur after you close – such as taxes, assessments, insurance and repairs – so you know what the house will really cost per month. Then budget accordingly.
One to two months prior to purchase:
- Devise an organization plan for packing, and find a trustworthy moving company.
- Notify the post office, schools, doctors, employers, utilities, insurance, bank and magazine subscriptions of your new address.
- Reserve a storage unit for the moving transition. Duh!
- If you have kids, look into area sports leagues, lessons and other activities to make their adjustment period easier.
HomeFinder.com is a leading online real estate search site and provider of digital marketing solutions for real estate agents and brokers. Every month, 3.4 million homebuyers visit us to gain access to nearly 4 million national real estate listings.
Image courtesy of Houzz.com.