Hunting for a first house is an exciting and challenging adventure. Because there are so many pieces to the puzzle, first-time buyers must create a detailed to-do list before acting. The master checklist will serve as your roadmap during a journey that could last many months. Begin by making estimates of significant cost categories. After that, study the ins and outs of cosigning on a child’s college loan. Check your credit and shore it up if necessary. Finally, find a top-notch real estate professional who can guide you through the final stages of the process. Review the following points as you construct the checklist.
Crunch The Numbers
Acquiring real estate of any kind can be a complex and intimidating process, even for those who are good with money and budgets. However, step one on the home buying checklist is doing the math. The chore entails figuring out how much you can save for a down payment, determining your current credit rating, estimating the total price you can afford to pay for a property, and calculating the likely closing costs for the deal.
If you don’t feel up to the task, consider asking for help from a realtor or financial planner. They regularly work with consumers who are in the process of getting their first home. The specific experience gives them the skill to assess your situation and arrive at reasonably accurate figures for closing costs, purchase price ranges, and down payments.
Learn About Cosigning On Loan Applications
It’s easy to overlook some of the most relevant checklist items when shopping for a house. If your daughter or son has requested your signature on a private loan application for college, don’t make a rash decision. Instead, examine all the advantages and disadvantages of being a cosigner. Of course, it’s tempting to immediately agree with your youngster’s request by putting pen to paper with your signature.
However, numerous responsibilities go along with adding your name to an application. It’s imperative to learn your legal obligations. Research the topic and explore questions about your financial duties if the original borrower stops making payments, can’t pay, defaults on the note, or repeatedly makes late payments. All that information is particularly relevant for parents who are in the process of acquiring their first house.
Clean Up Your Credit
Order the free credit report from each bureau and set about making any needed corrections. From there, pay down credit cards as much as possible and continue paying all bills on time or a few days before the due dates. Low credit usage is one of the most potent tools for improving credit scores.
Find a Reputable Realtor
After you do a decent amount of homework and preparation, it’s time to start working with a licensed, experienced realtor. Use names from your network to reach out to friends and acquaintances for recommendations. Excellent real estate pros are easy to find. Still, you should connect with one that operates in your preferred geographic location, has experience with first-time buyers, and comes highly recommended by a friend, family member, or trusted associate.
Avoid using a friend’s son or daughter who just got their license. While it might be a nice gesture to help someone’s child who’s just starting their business, save the goodwill for another time. Defuse the situation and preserve friendships by saying something like, “Hey, I’ll be happy to take a few of your child’s cards and pass them out, but I need to work with an agent that has more than five years of experience with new home sales in a particular neighborhood.” Keep a positive attitude as you visit for-sale houses and evaluate each one.