Tips To Get Started On The Path To Homeownership

Finding the right home in your area requires some time investment on your part and possibly the help of a real estate agent. It also requires some preparation before you start your search. You should include a credit check and financial evaluation or budget analysis to make sure you are on the right page in those areas and know what type of home you are looking for. Here are some tips to get you started on the path to buying a home this year.

Check Your Credit

The first step is to check your credit report. Get a copy of your credit report and go through it to see what is on it and what your score is. If there are any improvements you can make to your credit to boost your score, you should start doing them early on so you can improve your chances with a home mortgage. The higher your credit score is, the better your chances of getting a good mortgage loan rate and terms are. A better loan rate can save you a lot of money in the long term and make it easier to afford your home purchase.

Work at paying down unsecured debt if you have a lot of it and dispute any errors that are showing up on your credit file. You can submit a credit report dispute directly on the credit bureau's website.

Make a Search Plan

At this point of your home search process, you will be ready to start looking for single-family homes and touring through the ones that interest you. Talk to your real estate agent about what features and inclusions you want in a home so they can tailor the search to find you the right types of properties. Let them know what you don't want also, such as a property on a busy street, next to a firehouse or railroad track, or in a business area. If you want a home with several acres in a rural area, they can search for specific homes that match these criteria. 

Once your agent provides you a list of homes based on your search criteria, go through the homes online with your agent to find out why they chose the specific homes they did out of all the homes that came up on the list search. If they manually went through to narrow down the results to specific homes, make sure you understand why so that if you need to redefine the search rules with your agent, you can do so early on so you don't waste time looking at homes that are not good matches.