As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.
Pick a Mortgage Lender. If you have a local bank or credit union where you do your banking check with them to see if they offer a mortgage program to suit your needs. Make sure you are comfortable with the lender as this is a major financial decision. There are multiple loan options, make sure they give you options and review closing costs with them. If you need help or a recommendation ask your Realtor as they deal with many lenders.
Get pre-approved. It makes no sense to look at houses you cannot afford. The buying process can be time consuming so being prepared saves you time and frustration. You can also put yourself in a better position when making an offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.
Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying additional principal when money is good.