Steps to Take Before Beginning a Home Search

Buying a new home is an exciting time, but there are certain steps you need to take before you can actually make the purchase. It can be tempting to jump in and start looking right away, but taking your time and understanding the process can save you from getting in over your head. Here are some things you need to address before you begin your search.

Find Out What You Can Afford

A house is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make, so it is important to be smart about it. Before you get too far into the process, you need to figure out how much you can actually afford. Sit down and make a monthly budget of your expenses. Remember to factor in property taxes, insurance, homeowners association fees, utilities and water. An experienced lender like Sun West Mortgage can help you with the calculations you before you begin shopping for your dream home.

Get a Real Estate Agent

Finding the right real estate agent can make the process go much more smoothly for you. You should look for someone who is trustworthy and has your best interests in mind. Looking at online reviews is a great place to start. You can also ask your friends and family for recommendations for real estate agents that they used. Find someone who is very familiar with the area that you are looking to buy in. You will probably want to interview a few different people before making this big decision.

Get Pre-approved

Before you can put in an offer on a house, you will need a pre-approval letter. This states how much mortgage you have actually been approved for. There are many factors that affect this number, such as income, assets and debt. Your pre-approval letter lets the realtor know whether your offer is actually valid. The mortgage company that you decide to go with will provide you with this letter. Just know that these letters do expire, so you should begin the search process relatively soon after getting pre-approved.

Once you have been through these steps, it is time to start looking for your new home. Make a list of your must-haves for your new home, such as square footage, location and lot size. Remember to be realistic with your expectations. You may want to go online and look at some houses in your price range to get an idea of what your options are. Provide your real estate agent with your list of details, and you’ll be ready to start checking out houses.