Buying a home for the first time can get pretty hectic, to say the least. There’s tons of details to keep track of, decisions to make, and things to do. Needless to say, it can get quite overwhelming for anyone.
One of the smartest strategies for first-time buyers is to keep everything organized. Staying organized will make the buying process easier and less stressful, allowing you to make the right decisions.
Below is a handy checklist that will help you prepare for your first home purchase:
- Get your finances in order. Before you even start looking for a home, make sure to get your finances in order. Request your credit report from the three bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), and make sure it’s accurate. Compile all necessary documents such as bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns from the previous year to present to a loan officer.
- Do research on mortgages. Take a look at helpful sites such as Trulia.com’s mortgage tools, where you can find information on a wide selection of reputable lenders from all 50 states. You can get a personalized quote and read lender reviews from other users in order to determine the right lender for you.
- Find a reliable real estate agent. A good real estate agent will make the buying process quicker, easier, and more stress-free. Find an agent who’s familiar with the local market, and has experience with multiple transactions in the area.
- Research about the neighborhood. Search online for information about a specific neighborhood. Know what schools, major highways, services or other attractions are located nearby. Visit an area’s local precinct to find out about crime activity, ask potential neighbors, and drive during different times of the day to gain a clearer picture of what a neighborhood’s like.
- Know what you’re looking for. List down features you’d like to have in a home, and keep this list handy when you’re looking at properties. Once you’ve gathered several options, see which of the homes is the closest to your idea of a dream home, and make your decision.