Carefully craft your wish list and try to stick to it. If you are shopping with your partner, discuss your must-haves and deal-breakers together so you’ll be on the same page during your house hunt. Remember you are not only buying a house, but the neighborhood too. Is it safe? Talk to neighbors and ask questions. Spend time in the area to determine if it offers the lifestyle conveniences you’ll need. Don’t see too many houses in one day. You may begin to feel overwhelmed and confused after touring several homes. Too many homes in a short period of time will run together in your mind, and you won’t recall which kitchen or which master bedroom belonged to which house. Stay within your price range and consider added expenses such as taxes, home owner’s association fees, maintenance, etc.
Mortgage rates have been inching up but are still historically low. Housing prices are still relatively low. The key to seeing a return on your investment in ANYTHING is to buy low and ride the wave on up. The cost of borrowing money right now makes home ownership cheaper than renting in many cases. What do you think happens if everyone continues to rent because they are afraid to buy??? Rents continue to skyrocket. Investors know this, that’s why they are buying everything they can now, so they can rent it to you at an inflated rate later. BUY NOW!
If you are planning to purchase within the year, your priority right now should be to clean up your credit. Pull those reports, see if there is anything that may make the process difficult. Any past dues? Any late payments? Judgements? Call the creditors and work out a deal. The key to getting a good mortgage rate is credit worthiness.
Make sure you have filed your taxes. Mortgage companies will need your last 2 and sometimes 3 years of tax returns so pull that together. SAVE SAVE SAVE! Also, it may be worthwhile to sit with a mortgage professional now and try to get preapproved. This way you’ll know in advance what your purchasing power is. And if you can’t get preapproved, at least you’ll know why, and you can begin to start cleaning your profile up.