One of the most important steps you can take as a first-time homebuyer is to get a mortgage preapproval right away! In today’s competitive real estate market, there are fewer homes available for sale than there are buyers. This is called a sellers’ market which means more buyers are looking for homes with fewer choices. The power behind a preapproval lets the seller know you are serious and ready to go! Here are 7 homebuyer tips to help you jumpstart your mortgage process.
Start with a mortgage preapproval: At ChoiceOne Bank, it will only take 20 minutes and it will give you the power to act fast when you want to put an offer on the house you absolutely love! In addition, a preapproval will let you and your real estate agent know how much you can afford.
Find a Real Estate Agent who knows your market: Interview your real estate agent to make sure they understand your needs and the areas where you want to live. Make sure this relationship works for you because you will need to communicate well and again…you may need to work fast in this competitive market so make sure they are available to you.
Shop for A Home That Fits Your Budget and Lifestyle: When you find a home, make sure the home fits your lifestyle. Picture yourself living there, waking up in the morning, going to work, visiting friends and family. Do you feel safe? Will the home grow with you and your family? Do you have enough storage for all your things? Even if you need to make some improvements, can you see yourself living in the home for at least 5 years?
Compare All Costs and Fees: When shopping for your mortgage, make sure you are comparing all costs and fees. Sometimes banks will charge a lower rate but have higher closing costs and additional fees. Make sure to speak with your ChoiceOne Bank mortgage lender to learn the current cost - there is a flat fee for closing costs for you to consider, and it’s very competitive along with the home mortgage rates available.
Consider Speed to Closing: Oftentimes your seller will want to close quickly because they need to move into a new home, too. Speed to closing can become an important negotiation tool for you and your real estate agent. At ChoiceOne Bank, you can typically close within 28 days. There are circumstances where it might be a lot quicker…or longer. Having all your paperwork available is key.
Collect Proper Documentation: Just know when it comes time to apply for your mortgage you will need to gather lots of information to prove to your bank that you can afford to make the monthly payments on the home you want to buy. Stay patient and just collect all the information. It may seem like a lot, but it’s so worth the effort when you are approved to buy your home! See a complete checklist from ChoiceOne Bank.
Hold ALL Other Financial Decisions and Actions: Once you apply for a mortgage, your credit report is pulled and everything you do going forward will reflect on this report. Do not apply for a credit card (even if you are offered a great deal!) or another loan and make sure you make all your payments on time. This one thing that can really slow the process down if you do something to change your credit report.
There are so many tips to consider when you find the home you absolutely love! The main thing you’ll want to do is prepare yourself to deal in this competitive market! Start with tip one and you are already on your way to getting the power you need to let your real estate agent and seller know you are serious and ready to go!