Buying a home is an exciting time, but it can also be nerve-wracking. With so many small decisions to make along the way to homeownership, it's easy to feel overwhelmed – especially if you're a first-time buyer. Use these helpful tips to prepare for a successful home buying experience.
#1: Know your budget
Before you can start looking for your dream home, you need to have a clear understanding of what you can afford. Factor your household income, monthly debt payments and the amount of savings you have available for a down payment into your home-buying budget. Taking a hard look at your budget early on will give you time to make adjustments before seriously shopping for a home.
#2: Factor in extra costs
Beyond your monthly mortgage payment, there are a number of additional costs associated with buying a home. Extra expenses may include closing costs, utilities, property taxes and any new furniture you purchase for your home. Even after you move in, routine or emergency maintenance can impact your budget. Plan ahead for both expected and unexpected costs and factor them into your savings plan before you look for a home.
#3: Clean up your credit score
When applying for a mortgage loan, your credit score plays an important role. It's among the biggest factors mortgage lenders consider during the application process and it may influence the type of mortgage loan and the interest rate you receive. Review your credit report before starting the home buying process to check for errors or inaccuracies. In the months leading up to your home purchase, take steps to strengthen your score by making consistent on-time payments and paying down any outstanding debts.
#4: Get a pre-approval letter
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan is one of the best ways to stand out in today's competitive housing market because it shows sellers that you're both willing and able to purchase the home. In the mortgage pre-approval process, the lender will review your income, credit and other financial information and determine if you are qualified to purchase a home up to a certain amount and at a certain interest rate. With your mortgage pre-approval letter in hand, you can feel more confident making an offer on the home of your choice.
#5: Find an expert you can trust
As you prepare to purchase a home, you want to find a lender you can trust to answer your questions and help you make informed and educated decisions. At Wright-Patt Credit Union, our mortgage professionals will show you how to prepare for your purchase, grow your savings and find the right mortgage loan* for your unique situation. And with competitive rates, no hidden fees and low closing costs, we help members save, on average, $175 a year** when they choose Wright-Patt Credit Union for their mortgage loan. See how much you could save, too!
Learn more about our mortgage loans here or stop by your local Member Center to get started today.