Buying a home will probably rank as one of the biggest personal investments one can make.

Preparing to buy should include:

First: Talk to a mortgage lender to get Pre-Qualified for a mortgage.

Working with a well qualified local lender or mortgage broker will likely ensure a smooth closing once you get your home under contract. 

Although online lenders offer the instant ability to compare mortgage 'deals', there is no way to know who exactly you are working with, if the offers are actually real  and results may vary. 

When working with an online mortgage lender, you don't want to falsely think everything is rainbows and butterflies, and then find out 2 days before closing, that your lender and their funding is missing, you have no real way to get a hold of them, and the white fear of having your closing implode is a very real possibility.

Many local mortgage lenders and brokers will match legitimate rates found online.  So if you don't mind being bombarded with a bajilion calls from  mortgage brokers for years to come, fill out the online forms, see what they have to offer, and then talk to a local lender who may be able to match a legit mortgage offer.

Or, save yourself from endless calls from mortgage salespersons, and just talk to a local mortgage broker first.

I have a few lenders that I work with and recommend, you will find their info here.  Their rates are generally very competitive and they even have special programs you may qualify for.

Second, get an idea of what you want

Ask yourself where you want to live and what the best location for you and/or your family are:

Things to consider:

  • convenience for all family members
  • proximity to work, school
  • crime rate of neighborhood
  • local transportation
  • types of homes in neighborhood, for example condos, town homes, co-ops, newly constructed homes etc.

Third and most importantly, find a Realtor who will be working for you vs. you working for them

Although the home buyer should always be calling the shots when looking for a home, it is very important that the Realtor provide structure to streamline the process to make sure you are finding and touring homes that truly meets your needs now and into the future.

It is important that your realtor sit down and take whatever time necessary to understand what each person who will be living in the property wants from their ideal home.  Once this is done, your realtor should better understand the family dynamic and keep everyone on track to find the ideal home that best meets everyone's needs.
 

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Tara Lubin is a realtor with @properties

Do you have questions about the home buying process?   Contact Tara for the answers and solutions.