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    Top Things to Do to Financially Prepare for Buying a House

    Saving-For-HouseLooking for a new home is a thrill, but it’s not a process to start on a whim. Given the size and expense of a real estate transaction, make sure that you’re fully prepared before you start your search. Full preparation means knowing exactly how much you can afford, knowing exactly what you want, and knowing exactly how you’re going to find it.

    If you’re starting to prepare for buying your first house, or you’re looking for financial tips, here are a few specifics on getting ready for your home search:

    1.Get your finances in order.

    A good credit score can mean thousands in savings when you purchase a new home. Have you checked your credit report lately? Take a look to ensure that you don’t have any debt you’re unaware of. Assuming you have significant credit history, put a hold on applying for new cards or other loans. Pay off any existing balances. Start saving for your down payment, and also build up an emergency fund in your savings account — lenders like to see that you have additional funds in case you find yourself out of work unexpectedly.

    2.Understand the full cost.

    If you’re preparing to buy a house, you can find loan calculators that only show principal and interest. But there’s a lot more to home ownership than just that. You’ll be responsible for property taxes, so check your county’s records to see the typical assessments. Condos and some neighborhoods include homeowner association dues, which can significantly increase your monthly obligation. You should also think about maintenance. If you’ve been renting, repairs to your dishwasher or air conditioning unit have fallen to your landlord. These are expensive repairs that will now be your responsibility. Make sure you understand these costs before making the jump from renting to owning.

    3.Find the right agent.

    Given the importance of this purchase, the best way to prepare for buying a house is to make sure you have experience on your side. A smart local real estate agent knows the process and knows your market. He or she can help you filter properties to a handful of possibilities, and then help you find the perfect fit for you and your family. Agents provide expert assistance in negotiation, as well as partnership, as you walk through the many tasks and mountains of paperwork that need completed before your purchase is final.

    4.Identify your home profile.

    Start your home search by knowing exactly what you’re looking for and exactly what you can afford. An effective agent can help you with this. Know the neighborhoods that will best meet your needs, and get preapproved for a loan. A preapproval letter lets you know exactly what you can afford, and it also puts authority behind any offers you make.

    5.Stay patient.

    The search for a new home can sometimes be long and frustrating. If you go into the process with reasonable expectations, there’s no reason to compromise. Be patient — homes go on the market every day, and you’ll eventually find the right one in the right neighborhood for the right price. The last thing you want to do is panic and buy a home you don’t love.

    How do you prepare for buying a house while keeping your expectations in check? The first step is preparing well before you actually start looking. Preparation and patience should result in a fantastic home for you and your family. And an experienced real estate agent can further advise you on preparing for your home search. To get expert assistance and start your home search, contact Century 21 Core Partners today.

    photo credit: Save Money via photopin (license)

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    Our agents write often to give you the latest insights on owning a home or property in the Central PA, Northern Maryland area.