Whether you’re buying your first home, upsizing or downsizing, the home-buying process can be daunting. The more you educate yourself, the more confident you will be in your decision. You’re also more likely to get the home you want at a price you can afford.
Decide on your right time to buy.
It all comes down to personal circumstances. Buying a home is a big investment and only you know if it is the right time for you. Some of the factors that go into deciding to buy include your life stage, lifestyle, current finances, and future goals. Don’t worry about what others are doing or try to predict the market.
Know your finances.
Before you begin shopping for a house, make sure you know how much you can afford. Be realistic with your income and budget. Consider factors such as your current debt, how much you have in savings, your monthly income, short and long-term financial goals, and your current and future employment. Be sure to consider other costs such as maintenance, repairs, and utilities. Learn your credit score and address any potential problems early. Gather your financial statements to be ready for the loan process. Based on your finances, you may qualify for more or less than you anticipate. Regardless of how much you qualify for, choose a payment amount that you’re comfortable with and that fits your budget and lifestyle.
Prequalify for a mortgage.
Pre-qualifying for your mortgage loan involves a preliminary review of your finances. It will help you and your Mortgage Loan Officer determine the price range that best suits your needs. The lender will discuss interest rates, down payment requirements, and loan costs. Once you decide which loan is right for you, ask for a prequalification letter. A prequalification letter is not a loan approval but gives you negotiating power and shows a seller your commitment to purchasing.
At First Interstate, you can prequalify online.
Find the right home for you.
Now that you’re ready to start shopping, be clear on what you’re looking for. Make a list of the features you want in a home — location, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether you want a fenced yard, granite counter tops, and other amenities. Rank the features by priority. For some, the location may be more important than the house, while others may be more willing to compromise on the neighborhood for the perfect house. Have your real estate agent show you only listings that are right for you. When you find the right house, your agent can help you confidently make an offer.
The path to closing.
Once your offer is accepted, your lender will submit the loan for approval. You will receive your loan estimate and other disclosures within three business days. Review them carefully to ensure the terms match what you discussed and ask questions when in doubt. You will also need to provide income and asset documentation to verify that you are qualified. During this time the home inspection and appraisal will also take place. Once the loan is approved, you will sign your closing documents and the funds will be sent to the seller. With all mortgage and real estate documents, read them closely and ask questions.
Congratulations, you’ve purchased your new home!
If you have questions, or you’re ready to buy a home, contact us to speak with an experienced First Interstate Mortgage Loan Officer.