Is 2018 the year you’ll finally realize your dream of buying a home? If you’d like to make that dream a reality, start planning now so you’ll be ready in the New Year. Here’s what you need to do to set yourself up for your 2018 home purchase.
Request your credit report
The first, and most important, thing you should do as you prepare to buy a home in the coming year is to check your credit. Your credit affects your ability to qualify for a loan and the kind of interest rate you’ll get. The better your credit, the more favorable your loan conditions will be. Even if you think you have excellent credit, you need to request your report. Many credit reports contain errors, and you’ll need time to address them and have them removed. And if your credit isn’t great, you can start putting measures in place to repair it.
Ask for money
When Santa asks you what you want for Christmas this year, tell him you want cold hard cash. All kidding aside, though, consider how much cash you’ll need for closing. Not only do you need money for the down payment – up to 20 percent of the purchase price – but you’ll also need to save for moving expenses, repairs and other unexpected costs. If you are expecting to receive gifts for the holiday, ask for financial contributions toward your home purchase.
Determine how much you can spend
Before you begin looking at homes in earnest, you need to determine your price range. Use an online calculator to plug in your details and find out how much house you can afford. And remember while it’s always fun to fantasize about your dream house, you’ll want to be realistic about how much you can comfortably spend each month. Committing to expensive mortgage payments that you have to stretch to make each month is stressful. You’ll enjoy your new home more if you aren’t worried about staying current on your loan.
Start looking at neighborhoods
The fun part of looking for a new home is researching neighbors and getting a feel for where you want to live. If you live close to the area where you want to move, drive around some neighborhoods, and see them at different times of day. If you don’t live nearby, take a virtual tour with Google Earth and scour the web for information. Start making a list of what you’re looking for in a community, and see which ones fit the bill.
Get preapproval for a loan
If you’re happy with your credit score and you’re ready to begin your search, then it’s time to get preapproved for a loan. Take time to research lenders and find the best rates and terms. Getting preapproved for a mortgage shows sellers that you are serious about buying a home. It’s essential that you get a preapproval letter once you’ve determined you’re ready to start putting offers on homes that fit your needs.