The real estate industry is in constant flux, which leaves the home-buying public wheeling and dealing with the consequences. Now more than ever, it’s important to be informed and well-prepared before signing on the dotted line.
Before diving into the process, ensure you have your finances in order. Your home is likely your largest single purchase. The more you know about the mortgage-buying process, the smoother it will go. Here are five must-haves you need to be a smarter and more informed home buyer.
1. Credit Report
Both mortgage lenders and individual buyers have access to credit reports. These reports give you a better idea of your creditworthiness. You can request that a vendor run your credit report and verify it with the major agencies Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Any of the three agencies can provide you with a copy of the report if any issues are listed.
If you see anything that causes concern, verify with your creditor and ensure the problem has been resolved. You want to ensure that no debts are outstanding. To improve your credit standing, view your report in a yearly format and make sure the numbers are in line. Avoid carrying over any bad credit from a previous year.
2. Housing Market Reports
With so many variables affecting the housing market, it’s important to ensure home values in your area will remain stable. You can find great resources on the Internet that provide current local housing reports with information on homes sold, pending sales, and more. These reports allow you to research and compare interest rates, property taxes and assessments, and mortgage rates throughout the county.
Look for reliable sources that are updated regularly. Sometimes local newspapers offer good information. Other great sources include community centers, public libraries, and local government offices. You can also find great information at the U. S. Census Bureau’s public data site, which provides current housing statistics and historical trends that are updated monthly.
Before entering the market, you should obtain preapproval from a mortgage company. You will likely be required to meet with a financial adviser who will review your income and other aspects of your financial profile. The company will set up your account to send your information electronically to the mortgage company, and you will go through the underwriting process.
If your financial profile meets their criteria, they will approve you for a specific loan at a particular interest rate. The best Dallas mortgage lenders will consider several factors, including your loan type, your credit history, and whether you are a first-time buyer or just need to refinance an existing mortgage. They will also consider how much you can afford to put down at closing.
4. Home Inspection
Before buying any property, you want to ensure it’s in good condition and is something you can take pride in owning. Check the plumbing, electrical, structural, and structural integrity of the roof, crawlspace, and attic. A professional home inspector will look at the property from top to bottom and note any problems with the structure, exterior, interior, mechanical systems, and more. Take note of all appliances, fixtures, and the heating and cooling system. The inspector will give you a professional report, including photos of any problems they have found.
After the inspection, you can determine whether you want to make any changes or fixes. Depending on the scope of the inspection, it may be possible for the seller to make repairs and deduct the cost from your agreed-upon purchase price. The report will also tell you whether or not you have made a good investment. With expert advice from a professional home inspector, you can be confident that your new home is in great shape and will last for many years.
5. Real Estate Agent
When looking at properties, many questions need to be answered to make a sound decision and arrive at an offer price. You need a real estate agent’s input and expertise to get the best deal.
Your agent will help you assess the property’s condition, identify potential problems and negotiate a good price for the home. They will also tell you about the neighborhood, resale values, and what comparable homes have sold for. A reputable real estate agent will also work closely with your lender to ensure you qualify for the loan and get the right mortgage product.
As a soon-to-be homebuyer, there are many decisions to make and nuances to look out for. Hire qualified professionals to help guide you through these decisions so you can be confident in your final decision before moving forward.