1. Check your credit report and credit score – this website allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. http://www.annualcreditreport.com/
2. Start saving and stop spending
3. Set your housing budget: financial experts recommend that a maximum of 30% of your gross monthly income be spent on principal, interest, taxes and insurance.
4. Consult with a lender and get per-qualified for a mortgage loan. A lender can explain the different types of loan programs available and interest rates. The lender can also give you an idea of your costs; down payment and closing costs.
5. Find a realtor – you should have a realtor to represent your interests in purchasing a home. Trusting your realtor is important.
6. Set your priorities – what type of home do you want, single story or two story or in a particular neighborhood. Keep in mind as a first time buyer you may need to make some compromises in your first home depending on your finances.
7. Making an offer – if you find the right house and don’t want to lose it, don’t make a low-ball offer. Have your realtor run comparable sales for the home to determine a purchase price. Is the seller a homeowner or an REO company? Offers have to be structured to meet the sellers criteria, your realtor can help you with this.
8. Get the home inspected – you are looking for serious flaws in the home and you can learn about home maintenance and what to expect as a homeowner.
9. Shop for homeowners insurance –contact your current auto or renters insurance company for quotes and call several others to compare rates. You will need this prior to completing your purchase.
10. The escrow period – you have signed the paperwork and the process has begun, taking between 30 and 60 days before you can move in. During this period make sure to stay in contact with your realtor and lender. The contract will have time periods that you have to adhere to and your realtor will help keep you on track. There should be no major changes in your employment at this time and you should not make any purchases using credit.
Buying your first home can be an exhilarating experience, remember to stay within your budget and work with reputable professionals that will help guide you through the process. Communication is the most important thing.
Tips for Selling Your Home
1. Clean the clutter – this may mean moving furniture around or out of rooms and removing personal items and photographs. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the space. Hiring a stager is an option that has worked for many sellers. The costs can range from several hundred dollars to thousands if you rent items to enhance the appeal of the home.
2. Offer incentives to the buyer – you may want to consider offering the buyer money toward their closing costs and / or paying for a home protection plan for the buyer. Your realtor can help you determine what these costs could be. Offering them in the listing makes your home stand out compared to others on the market. Buyers are looking for a deal.
3. Curb appeal – making your home attractive at first glance can go along way in obtaining an offer. Spruce up the landscaping and remove any debris. Clean the exterior by hosing off dirt and cleaning driveway stains and if warranted consider fresh paint.
4. Move in condition – are there repairs you have been putting off, if so now is the time to repair that leaky faucet or hole in the wall. Buyers want to move in and enjoy their new home rather than making repairs.
5. Pricing – know the values in your neighborhood. Consult with a realtor, read the local paper and check on line. The price should be reflective of comparable homes that have recently sold, try to put yourself in the buyers place and then determine what a fair price might be. Supply currently out weighs demand in the market and although price is critical taking a few of the above mentioned steps may make all the difference in selling your home.