Buying a home can be a daunting task, but with the right information and preparation, it can be a breeze. Here at Texas United Mortgage, we want to help you make the most informed decisions possible when it comes to home buying.
That's why we've put together this list of eight insider home buying tips from a Houston mortgage lender. Keep reading for advice from industry experts on how to get started on your home buying journey!
Tip One: Organize your finances
The first step in home buying is to get your finances in order. This means checking your credit report, preparing your down payment, and setting a budget for yourself. By taking these steps you'll be in a much better position when it comes time to apply for a home loan.
This can include gathering bank statements, finding proof of your annual income, and reviewing your overall financial health.
Check your credit report
Before you begin the home buying process, it's a good idea to check your credit report. This will give you an idea of where you stand financially and if there are any red flags that need to be addressed. Any late payments on your credit history can impact your score and potentially interest rates.
Prepare your down payment
In order to get pre-approved for a home loan, you'll need to have a down payment saved up. The size of your down payment will depend on the type of loan you're applying for, but it's generally recommended to have at least 20% saved.
Set your budget
One of the most important steps in home buying is setting a budget for yourself. Be sure to take into account all of your monthly costs, including mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance.
Be realistic that even your "dream home" will have some flaws. Figure out your new house must-haves (such as location, number of bedrooms, etc.) and set a realistic budget.
Tip Two: Get pre-approved for a home loan
Once you've taken care of the financial preparation, it's time to start shopping for a home loan. Getting pre-approved for a home loan is a great way to know how much you can afford to spend on a new home.
When you're considering different loan options, be sure to choose a mortgage length that makes sense for your situation, and remember to factor in added costs like insurance and taxes.
Choose a mortgage length
When you're considering different home loan options, one of the things you'll need to decide is how long you want your mortgage to be. The most common mortgage lengths are 30 years and 15 years, but there are also other options available. Mortgage rates are typically lower for shorter-term loans but the monthly payments will be higher since they're condensed. However, when you consider the home's price and the interest savings from competitive rates, a shorter term could work out for you.
Consider added costs
In addition to your monthly mortgage payment, there are other costs that come with owning a home. Be sure to factor in things like homeowners insurance, taxes, and repairs when you're budgeting for your new home.
Tip Three: Find a real estate agent you can trust
One of the most important steps in home buying is finding a real estate agent you can trust. A good real estate agent will be able to help you find the perfect home and negotiate the best price possible.
When you're looking for an agent, it's a good idea to stay local and choose someone with experience.
When you're looking for a real estate agent, it's a good idea to choose someone familiar with the area you're interested in. They'll be able to give you insights into different neighborhoods and help you find the perfect home for your needs.
A local real estate professional should know the market well and can even help you out with other important aspects like finding a school district or a home with a shorter work commute. Make sure you communicate your needs - and any dealbreakers - up front.
When you're choosing a real estate agent, it's important to pick someone with experience. A good agent will have a deep understanding of the home buying process and will be able to guide you through every step of the way.
Many buyers make the mistake of using someone inexperienced. In a hot real estate market like today's, that just won't cut it. You need an experienced agent who can help you write a good offer and make the most out of your home search.
Tip Four: Do your research
Before you start shopping for a home, it's important to do your research. This means considering different loan types, looking into possible assistance programs, and choosing a neighborhood carefully.
By taking the time to do your research upfront, you'll be in a much better position to find the perfect home for your needs.
Consider different loan types
There are many different types of home loans available, so it's important to do your research and choose the one that's right for you. Some common loan options include FHA loans, VA loans, and conventional mortgages.
Look into possible assistance programs
If you're a first-time home buyer, there are many assistance programs available to help you with the home buying process. These programs can provide things like down payment assistance or closing cost assistance. Texas has lots of additional resources that most buyers don't even think to take advantage of!
Choose a neighborhood carefully
When you're buying a home, the neighborhood you choose is just as important as the home itself. Be sure to do your research and pick a neighborhood that's right for you.
Consider trade-offs. For example, would you rather have an extra bedroom or a home with a great yard near convenient shopping and good schools? These are very real decisions you may have to make!
Tip Five: Don't try to time the market
When you're ready to buy a home, it's important not to try and time the market. The reality is that there's no perfect time to buy a home, so it's best to just go with what makes sense for your situation.
Tip Six: Don't fall for teaser loan rates
Teaser loan rates are often used by mortgage lenders to lure in potential borrowers. However, these rates are usually only available for a short period of time, or only apply to very specific circumstances, and can end up being much higher than expected. That's why it's important to do your research and choose a mortgage lender you can trust.
Research mortgage lenders
When you're looking for a mortgage lender, it's important to do your research. Be sure to read reviews and compare rates before choosing a lender.
Find a local loan officer
One of the best ways to find a trusted mortgage lender is to find a local loan officer. A local loan officer will be familiar with the market in your area and will be able to help you find the best home loan for your needs.
Tip Seven: Avoid making other big purchases
When you're in the process of buying a home, it's important to avoid making any other big purchases. This includes things like buying a new car or taking out a personal loan. Making other big purchases can jeopardize your home loan and make it more difficult to get approved.
Tip Eight: Don't forget the closing costs
When you're budgeting for your new home, don't forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs are typically around two to five percent of the purchase price of the home and can include things like appraisal fees and title insurance.
Stick to these tips
By following these tips, you'll be on your way to a successful home purchase. Just remember to stay organized, do your research, and work with a trusted real estate agent and mortgage lender. And most importantly, don't try to time the market! If you're ready, the time is right.
Purchasing a home is a huge financial decision that should not be taken lightly. These eight insider tips will help you make the best decision for your situation.