by Kurt Johnson
Residential Sales Manager, Liberty Bank
Buying a home might be one of your long-term dreams. But you probably have others, too. How do you balance it all and plan ahead? The good news is: If you’re thinking about a five-year plan, you’re ahead of the game. Here are three steps you can take now to get a head start on your home buying dreams.
1. Educate yourself
Many local non-profit agencies hold first-time buyer workshops on a regular basis. These classes offer a wealth of information about preparing for home ownership, qualifying for a mortgage, and about the home buying process overall. Your best bet is to find one that is HUD-approved as many first-time buyer programs require a counseling certificate from a HUD-approved agency.
2. Start saving
You can expect to pay 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price in closing costs, such as attorney fees, lender fees, and property-driven expenses like property taxes and homeowners insurance. You may be able to keep your down payment low, as there are programs available that require no down payment or a down payment as low as 3%. Outside of funds needed to complete the purchase, it’s always wise to have additional funds set aside for improvements, repairs, and the unexpected. For tips on saving, check out our articles on Money Management.
3. Check your credit
It’s always a good idea to regularly monitor your credit for accuracy. Federal law allows consumers to pull their credit report for free annually. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to request your free credit report. Once you’ve done this, have a conversation with a local mortgage loan officer to see how your credit lines up with current lending requirements. This will ensure smoother sailing when you’re ready to jump into the home buying process.
Do you have questions about the home buying process? Contact a loan officer today.