So it's settled. You're either ready to move or buy your first home, and you've decided on Jefferson County
or Berkeley County
. The buying process can be overwhelming. What should you do first? How do you make sure you pick the perfect home? How do you make sure you pay a fair price? As realtor who is an expert on West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle real estate
, I can help.
1. Clean up your credit
Home buying is easier if you're pre-approved for a loan. It's easiest to get pre-approved when you have good credit. Better credit also results in better interest rates. Anyone may order a free credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) once per year from AnnualCreditReport.com
. Look over these reports and make sure there aren't any outstanding bills you forgot you had. Take care of anything in collections. Even if you think your credit is great, it's still worth checking. Even parking tickets can go to collections these days! It's also good to check for safety's sake--to make sure your identity has never been stolen.
2. Know what you can afford
Sometimes buyers (especially those buying for their first time) think they can afford more than they actually can because they haven't stopped to do the math. Don't do rough estimations. Sit down with a pen and paper and calculator and list out each and every monthly expense you currently have. Don't forget about emergency expenses that arise, such as car repair and medical care costs. If it's your first time buying a home, remember that there is more to it than just the sticker price. Factor in property taxes, utilities you might not have been paying as a renter, home repair, and lawn maintenace costs. You want to know the maximum you can afford before
you start shopping, so you know not to look at houses outside of your price range.
3. Set aside some cash
Hopefully you've already started doing this, but you'll need a fair-sized sum of money to pay for the mortgage down payment and closing costs. The general rule is that you want to put down 20% of the total mortgage cost. These days, however, many people are putting down a smaller down payment. Agencies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae provide low down payment mortgages.
Once you've taken care of these main steps, you're financial prepared to start home shopping. This is a great time to find a local realtor you trust. I help buyers find their ideal homes all over West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle
, so if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Kable Team Realty
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