Here, in a nutshell are the steps every home buyer should take before venturing out to look for a new home.
Decide what you can afford
Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income. I advise to begin looking at homes in the lower end of that price range.
Then, prioritize the features. For example, which is more important to you – the right school district or proximity to work? A remote master bedroom or a wood-burning fireplace or a large kitchen? A large fenced yard or no yard?
Select where you want to live
Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account the items you put on your wish list in the step above, area expansion plans, and safety. Drive around each one during the day and in the evening to get a feel for the neighborhood and whether it’s a good fit.
Do you have enough money saved to cover your down payment and closing costs? FHA loans require a 3.5% down payment, and closing costs average between 3 and 7 percent of the home price.
Get your credit in order.
Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments. There are things you can do to improve your credit score.
Determine your mortgage qualifications
How large of a mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options with each lender you speak with to decide what’s best for you.
Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You will need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
Consider other sources of help with a down payment
Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on programs for first-time buyers, or ask the lenders you talk to.
Determine the total costs of homeownership
This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
Contact a licensed real estate professional
We at GoodWin Team Realty can help guide you through the process and answer any questions that you might have along the way. And, of course, when you’re ready, we can show you the houses you’re interested in. That’s when you’ve gotten to the fun part!
GoodWin Team Realty
Heather Goodwin, Broker
Serving all of Shreveport and Bossier City
Specializing in Southeast Shreveport Gated Communities
St. Charles Place, Hidden Trace, Norris Ferry Landing, Provenance, Norris Ferry Crossing,
Twelve Oaks, Acadiana Place, and the Ellerbe Road Corridor
Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission