Buying a home can be an emotional, time-consuming, and complex process. There are a few things that you can do to help make the process go as smooth as possible:
1. Check your credit.
Before you apply for a home loan, regardless of your credit, it's a smart idea to obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus and review the information. If there are errors or things that need to be addressed, it's easier to address them before you have found a house, than after you have found a house and are trying to close your loan.
If you know that there are a few blemishes on your credit, let your lender know what they are, why they are there, and why you are a still good credit risk. Lenders look at your credit to determine how likely you will pay back the loan. If you had extenuating circumstances - like a loss of a job or medical bills - let them know so that they understand that it is not likely to happen again in the future.
2. Get your loan approval letter before you look at properties.
An approval means that a lender has reviewed your credit history, verified your assets and employment, and has approved your loan before you have found a home to purchase. As long as the home appraises for at least the purchase price, the loan should close.
Getting approved is mandatory in today's Real Estate market. Our professional duty warrants that we send in any offer with a copy of an updated loan approval qualifying letter with current asking price and property address. If you are working with a "Banker" or "Loan Broker" who does not work evenings or weekends then you may be at a disadvantage. My goal is to give you every advantage so let me know if you need a recommendation for a Loan Broker who is readily available to provide the service you need when you need it!
3. As your Buyer's Agent, we look at properties together once you are pre-qualified. Here is the mortgage expert I prefer to work with:
Kim Pettigrew Senior Loan Officer NMLS # 288484
One real estate agents represent the sellers in a transaction. Therefore the seller's agent or the "Listing Agent's" legal fiduciary duty is to the seller not the buyer.
A buyer's agent's job and fiduciary responsibility (meaning legal duty) is to you, the buyer. I will be able to help you determine the price and terms for an offer that are best for you. The "Listing Agent" (who Lists the property in the MLS for the owner) has a fiduciary duty to the seller, not you the buyer. I will send you a weekly update of properties available. Call or e-mail me when you see one that interests you. I have a team that I work with. Dianne is our contracts manager, she writes most of the offers. If I am not available to show then Rebecca is back up for me. We have all your needs covered.
4. Drive the block & neighborhood.
Often times the house you find may be in a neighborhood that you're not familiar with, which is ok. It just means that you'll have to do a little more research. These days you can do a lot of research on the internet... the following is a partial list of items to check.
Check out the schools.
Next, contact the police station and obtain crime statistics? Are they acceptable to you? Sometimes, if they won't give them to you, it could be a cause for alarm.
Talk to the neighbors. The more people you talk to, the better sense you will get of who makes up the neighborhood and how they will effect your time spent in it.
Check out the location of the shopping, police and fire stations, schools, and air traffic overhead. These are all things that might affect your property value or quality of your life.