Factors to consider and steps to take on the road to your next dream house.
- Decide how much you can spend. For a convenient worksheet, go to pueblo.gsa.gov.
- Check your credit reports to find out your status. Your credit report affects a lender’s willingness to give you a loan, and if there’s a mistake that negatively impacts you, you can try to correct it.
- Get an idea of how much you can borrow. Real estate agents and lenders can help with this, or use one of the mortgage calculators on the Web (such as on bloomberg.com).
- Shop for a mortgage lender. Look for the best rates and terms and a good-faith estimate of closing costs.
- Get pre-approved for a loan. Don’t waste time looking at houses you can’t afford. Plus, a pre-approval letter will demonstrate your viability as a buyer (a good edge, when you bid on a house, if there are multiple offers), and you’ll save time once a bid is accepted.
- Find a real estate agent. An agent, who will be paid by the seller, can do a lot of the legwork for you. To find an agent, ask friends and family, interview several candidates (make sure they’re licensed and have access to Multiple Listing Service). Decide who you’re most comfortable with, and contact references if possible.
- Research potential neighborhoods. Investigate issues like crime rate, schools, local services, proximity to museums or other institutions that are important to you, commuting distance, ethnic diversity, and property taxes.
- Make a list of features you want in a house. Divide it into must-haves and like-to-haves.
- Go house hunting. Read the newspaper real-estate section, check out online sources (like realtor.com), go to open houses, and use your agent. Print out a checklist of things to look for in each home you tour at hud.gov.
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