How anxious are you to venture into a snowstorm without proper clothing? Think about what’s necessary and prudent. An overcoat or warm jacket, preferably with hood, warm pants or long skirt with tights (my friend dresses this way when we walk in winter,) high boots with thick socks underneath, a scarf, and definitely a hat and gloves. Now that you’re outfitted, you can go out with the comfort of knowing that you are protected.
Why is it then that you are venturing into the real estate market, bound and determined to find the house of your dreams, without the protection and comfort of a pre-approval letter in your folder from a reputable lending institution. If you’re looking at single homes, the guidelines will be different from those of a condominium…so, if you are unsure of what you want, get pre-qualified for both. The surprise will be that you qualify for more mortgage dollars if it is a single home!
How is that? you might question. Well…condos have a HOA, the monthly cost to the association that pays for your maintenance of the exterior as well as the grounds of the village. This fee should also include some residuals for roofs and decks, etc. And it’s this fee that’s added to your projected mortgage amount, taxes, insurance and that car payment and credit card payments you have. If you have college expenses, they’re added in the mix.
Once you have your pre-qualification letter, not a guarantee of loan, but a guideline for looking, interview agents and find the one best suited to your temperament. Find an agent that puts your goals and realty needs and desires above theirs. Look for an agent that will keep in touch, notify you of new listings that meet your criteria, and call you when a property has been reduced so that you will be one of the first to view it at the new price.
Communication is key to the house-buying process. Keep a dialogue going between you and your agent of changing needs. Above all, during this process, increase your savings, pay down debt; hold off buying a new car.