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Four Steps to Take Before Buying a Home

October 22, 2010

If you are considering buying a home, there are four crucial elements you must have in place before taking the first steps toward homeownership.

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or moving up to a new home, plan for your move by preparing for the following:

  1. Create a budget. Home buyers need to have enough money to cover monthly mortgage payments comfortably. “Properly budgeting your monthly finances is a must before taking any of the first steps towards finding and moving into a new home,” Bill Plattos, Executive Vice President of First Team Real Estate. Though seemingly an obvious preparation, many foreclosures occur because buyers don’t carefully examine their income and expenses ahead of time and fail to plan for monthly mortgage payments. “Talk to a financial advisor or a real estate professional to see if you can afford a monthly mortgage. The more financial planning you do in advance, the less likely you’ll be in for any surprises,” says Plattos.
  2. Plan for taxes and insurance. On the topic of affordability, be sure your income will cover any property taxes and homeowner’s insurance payments. Buyers need to make sure their monthly income covers these extra expenses. While planning your finances, include these two items in your budget. Make sure to have other spending money and extra cash available as well. You never know when something will break down or need replacing.
  3. Factor in maintenance. Buyers must also have the ability to properly maintain the home. “Maintaining the home is important. If the home isn’t in good condition, you will lose value on what is most likely your largest investment and set the stage for a potential loss when it comes time to sell,” says Plattos. Don’t ignore problems that need attention.
  4. Review your credit standing. Lastly, a home buyer must have good credit – especially in today’s tight lending environment. If you have late payments, a bankruptcy or unpaid debts, it will be difficulty to lock in a mortgage. If you do land a mortgage deal, the interest rate will be higher if your credit score isn’t up to par. A good line of credit will ensure the best rates possible. Pay off those debts before trying for a mortgage.

With the right funds, maintenance resources and a good line of credit, you will be well on your way to jump starting the home buying process.

For more information regarding getting prepared for homeownership, please contact a local First Team Real Estate professional today or visit www.FirstTeam.com.

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