December 29th, 2014 8:49 AM by Jackie A. Graves
If you’ve promised yourself you’ll become a
homeowner for the first time in 2014, we’ve got five, easy-to-accomplish
resolutions to help get you there.
1. Boost Your Credit Score
Your credit score will play a key role in your
mortgage approval and rates. At the beginning of the year, order your credit
reports from AnnualCreditReport.com, a free service
authorized by federal law. Go over each report, dispute any errors, and pay off
In the meantime, avoid big-ticket items such
as cars or furniture and don’t apply for new credit. Jon Sterling, a regional
sales manager for real estate offices in Northern California, says, “An inquiry
itself causes a credit score to temporarily drop, and acquiring more debt by
buying something, or the capacity to acquire more debt by opening a new credit
account, can have dramatic effects on [your] mortgage situation.”
2. Save Up to Put Down
According to Sterling, you’ll typically need a
20 percent to 30 percent down payment to qualify for the best mortgage rates. At the beginning of the year, try
cutting optional expenses to save more. For example, cutting out an $85 cable
bill will save you $1,020 in a year. Remember, every little bit helps you avoid
higher interest rates or private mortgage insurance.
3. Find the Best Real Estate Agent
Finding a great real estate agent takes time
but will pay off in the end. Sterling recommends you find a buyer’s agent who
“can give you a few recent testimonials from happy buyer clients. Be sure to
check those references to be sure they are legitimate.” To get started, ask
friends and family for referrals or search realtor.com®’s Find a REALTOR® database.
4. Get Pre-Approved
Knowing what you can afford, what you qualify
for, and what type of loan you want can help you find the best deal when you’re
ready to apply for a mortgage. To get started, research the differences between
conventional and unconventional loans and use a mortgage term
comparison calculator to get an idea of the cost. When you’re
ready to shop for mortgages, use realtor.com®’s Get a Mortgage Quote tool
to see current rates and get quotes from lenders in your area.
5. Find Your Dream Home
Sterling says potential home buyers should
be ‘reading and researching as much as they can’ as soon as they can. Don’t
wait until you’re ready to shop to start looking at homes. Start
early by researching neighborhoods in your target city and viewing homes online
to get an idea of pricing. Once you’re ready to shop, you’ll have a much better
idea of what you want and what you can afford.
Think you might be ready to buy? Visit
the newest addition to our sites, Doorsteps to explore the home buying process at
your own pace. On your own terms.
By: Angela Colley | To view the original
article click here