When you are buying your first home, it might be a little overwhelming knowing where to start and what comes next.  I remember being confused, not knowing where to start or if we were even ready to buy a home.  

Here are 5 things to think about when you start considering that home ownership might be in your future.  

1. Think about what you can afford.  What are you currently paying for rent?  Could you afford to pay anymore than you already are?  Do you have any money saved that you could put down to help lower your mortgage payment?  Once you know what type of payment you can afford, you are able to figure a price range of the homes to begin looking at.  You don't want to have a budget of $200,000 but fall in love with a home that is $400,00.  

2. Check your credit score.  Before you go any further, check your credit score.  The higher your credit score, the easier it will be to get approved for a mortgage.  You can find several places online that offer a free credit report, including Annual Credit Report.com.  

 2. Talk to a real estate agent.  Real estate agents won't cost you anything if you are looking to buy a home.  If you don't know of any agents, ask friends who they have used.  There are many different agents throughout the area, so you are able to be picky and find someone you really like to work with you through this important event.  

 3. Get preapproved.  Prior to looking at any homes, you should be preapproved.  This will give you and your realtor an idea of what types of homes to look at.  With a preapproval letter you will be able to find a home in your price range and make an offer.  To get approved, contact your realtor to be given a mortgage lender and gather your W-2's, tax returns for the past several years, pay stubs and bank account statements.  

 4. Find a home you can afford.  Even if you are approved for a $300,000 home, that doesn't mean you have spend the entire $300,000.  Ask what your payment would be and decide if you can actually afford that and live comfortably.  It is easy to look at a house that fits within your approval, but realistically is outside of your budget, and fall in love.  

 5. Check out the neighborhood.  You can drive around the neighborhood at different times of day to see what type of traffic is there, if there are kids playing outside, etc.  Check the school ratings and demographics.  You can check the crime in an area by visiting Crime Mapping

Posted by Alfonso "Fonz" Salazar on
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