Become financially aware. Collect your important financial documents, pay stubs, tax returns, retirement plans, pension funds, etc… Basically, anything you’ll claim as income will need to be verified. Be prepared to provide, in a timely fashion, documentation required by lenders during the pre-approval and lending process. Set yourself up for success by having your financial house in order.
Speak with a lender to find out your borrowing options. You’ll want to know not only how much you can borrow, but how much it will cost you and types of loan products available to you. If you’re using gift funds, your lender will guide you on what steps you should take and when to ensure the gift funds are correctly documented.
Establish your budget. Once you know how much you can and want to borrow, as well as what loan product you’ll use, you can begin to shop for a home. Knowing your budget and loan product can save you a lot of wasted time and money. Different loan products can have limitations on the actual property you choose based upon the condition and/or location of the property. Knowing the loan product will help your agent guide you to the properties which best fit your needs.
Identify potential locations/areas. While it might be fun to sit and look at pretty house pictures online, you need to consider more that just granite and ship lap. Consider what is important to you in a location. How close will you want or need to be to work, family, friends, activities, etc… Then you we can balance your desired location with your budget to find the best overall fit. I can find you a home anywhere. We need to make sure that it’s where you want or need it to be.
Find a qualified Buyer’s Representative. The great news is – you just found one! And, she is ME! It’s important to remember that the listing agent usually represents the seller, not you. It is the job and responsibility of the listing agent to protect the seller and share all material information with him or her. This means that anything you say can and may be used against you during the course of negotiations. As a buyer, you are entitled to your own representation. You should make sure that you’re getting the best advice and council available when making important selection and negotiating decisions. Make sure that your agent is a REALTOR® who is an Accredited Buyer Representative ABR®. Once again – that would be ME! If you’re reading this from an area of which I am not familiar, I have an extensive network of REALTORS® who hold the ABR® designation. I can help YOU get HOME!