You can't wake up one day and suddenly decide to buy a house. Well, you could, but it wouldn't be wise. There are steps that you need to take to make the home buying experience run more smoothly and efficiently. Like anything in life, preparation is key.
Hack Away at Debt
A key step to preparing is reducing your debt as much as possible. Pay down revolving debt as much as possible and pay off any installment loans that you feel would hurt your chances of mortgage approval. Every action you take on this directly affects your credit score and you want your score as healthy as possible before you buy. You can even meet with a mortgage person a year in advance and get advice on how to improve your score.
Be Ready to Pounce
Get pre-approved before you look at houses so you are ready to pounce on a good deal. There is nothing worse than losing a house to another buyer because you had to wait to get pre-approved before making an offer. To be clear, you want to get pre-approved, not pre-qualified. Pre-approved means that your mortgage person has pulled your credit and taken an application from you. The bank has made a conditional commitment to do business with you.
Know That Radon is Stealthy
Getting a home inspection before buying a home is standard procedure. Less well-known, however, is a radon test. Radon, a naturally occurring, radioactive gas, is stealthier than a ninja and just as deadly. Radon exists throughout the United States, but a simple, overnight test can determine if your new home has it. If found, radon can easily be removed with a radon mitigation system.
Ignore crazy paint choices. Disregard dated furniture and decor. Stay focused on the goal of buying a good house in a great location. All other details can be changed by you once you move in. A fresh coat of paint can fix just about anything.
Never Work Alone
While ninjas may have been solo attackers, house hunting is better done with a trusty partner, namely a licensed real estate agent. A professional Realtor can help you find a quality house, make a reasonable offer, and walk you through the entire process, from inspection to closing. Plus, buyers do not pay any commission. Both the listing agent and the buyer's agent are paid from the seller's proceeds on the sale of the house.
While navigating the waters of buying a home can be tricky, if you act like a ninja, you will succeed.