It’s time to get things in order for your home search next year!

Are you thinking of buying a home in 2018? November and December are perfect times to warm up for the house hunt so you can get a head start in the new year. Whether you’re looking in Paris, Texas or Paris, France, the work to get ready is basically the same.

We’ve got some great tips on what prospective home buyers should do to get ready for buying a home. Everything from organizing finances to save money, to finding the right real estate agent and mortgage lender, there is no shortage of things to keep you busy!

7 Steps to Be Ready to Buy a House in 2018

1. Check your credit score.
A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit report. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and a higher score is always better. Usually you’ll get the best interest rate on a loan if your score is 740 and above. If your credit score falls short, there are a few things you can do to repair it. Correct any errors that might be on your report, start paying all your bills on time, and get your credit limit raised. Don’t max out your card each month. It’s best to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.

2. Don’t open any new credit cards.
Imagine the willpower someone would need to resist every offer to open a credit card, even if you could save 20 percent (or more) on your holiday purchases! As tempting as saving at checkout can be, that’s exactly the kind of willpower you need. Opening new credit may hurt your chances of getting a mortgage, or at the very least, of getting the best rate on a loan. What could save you a few dollars now could cost you much more in the long run because your mortgage payments will be higher.

3. Financial gifts for the holidays.
Besides the mortgage loan, you’ll need a decent amount of cash to buy a home. There’s the down payment, closing costs, and moving costs to think about. You should also set aside money for unexpected repairs and emergencies.

A possible solution? Instead of telling people about the next latest and greatest thing on your holiday list, consider suggesting a cash gift to put toward your new home. Also remember that you might get some money back after you file your tax return. This is another great way to add to your reserves for your new home!

4. Give us a call!
Ruth has over 16 years of experience and will be delighted to take care of you and your family. The end of the year is usually a slow time for agents, so the chances are high that they’ll be more willing to accommodate your schedule when making appointments.

5. Keep track of interest rates.
Don’t assume that just because you hear that interest rates are at historic lows or that they’re on the rise that you can get a rock bottom rate. Everyone gets a different interest rate on a mortgage loan. It all depends on your financial situation and on the lender you choose. Keep in mind that closing costs can vary too, so discuss with your real estate agent different ways to keep yours down.

6. Find a mortgage lender.
We have a great team of mortgage lenders to help you start the process of pre-approval. We have a team consisting of local lenders, as well as Keller Mortgage based in Ohio that offers no lender fees and $1000 credit at closing. On average you can save $5000 for a $250,000 home. Incredible!

7.  Pre-approval, what will the lender need?

  • Tax returns for the past two years
  • W-2 forms for the past two years
  • Paycheck stubs from the past few months
  • Proof of mortgage or rent payments for the past year
  • A list of all your debts, including credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and alimony
  • A list of all your assets, including bank statements, auto titles, real estate, and any investment accounts