A pre-home buying checklist
You might be ready to buy a home, but are you prepared?
Regardless of whether you are a first-time home buyer or an experienced owner, it’s good practice to conduct a pre-purchase reality check before buying a house. Before you jump into the financial commitment of the purchase, give careful consideration to your financial situation and whether you are truly prepared to buy.
Here is a six-item checklist of items to check off before buying a home:
Strengthen your credit score. In general, the higher your credit score, the lower your down payment and monthly payments, which impact your buying power.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you’re truly serious, do your research on rates and have your financing in place before you walk through the first house to know how much you can afford, and to make a stronger offer.
Have your financial house in order. Beyond what your credit looks like, don’t change jobs, change banks, buy a vehicle or any big-ticket items. Avoid inquiries into your credit, don’t be late on payments and don’t charge excessively.
Save for a down payment and closing costs. The national average for down payments nationwide is 16 percent, according to LendingTree. Also know the average closing costs in your area.
Build a healthy emergency fund. Have several months worth of mortgage payments set aside, so lenders can see you’re not check-to-check, making you a better loan candidate. Plus, repair issues and home emergencies always come up.
Control your debt and know how much you can afford. Gain control of the debt you already have, starting with high-interest debt. Know how much payments you can afford, with a safe formula that expenses should not exceed 28-31 percent of your gross monthly income.