Start with taking an inventory of your current financial situation. Determine your total monthly household gross income, income after taxes, and total expenses to share with your lender. If you don’t have or know a mortgage lender, you Realtor help you find a good one. Your mortgage lender will want to know your FICO or Experian credit score, which is an important determinate of your ability to secure a home loan.
Your lender can obtain your credit score for you, or you can get it from many free online services, such as credit Karma, FICO, Experian, etc. Knowing your credit score is an important first step in understanding whether or not you can qualify for a home loan. With this score, lenders can help you determine the maximum monthly payment, affordable home price, and maximum home loan amount. Most importantly, you will learn the amount of monthly home mortgage payments with which you feel comfortable, the associated range of home prices that fits your budget.
If you are not comfortable with finance, budgeting, or don’t have a lender, again contact your Realtor who can help you discern relevant information or refer you to a financial professional who can assist. If you don’t have a Realtor, find a good one, who puts your needs first. Your Realtor will help you navigate the maze of buying and/or selling real estate. If you live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and need a Realtor who is trust-worthy and puts your needs first, contact me.
After lender prequalification, you are now ready begin your home search. Armed with the knowledge of what you can afford, you can now determine your desired location and home style bases on your personal and family priorities. With work-place, school, recreation, area amenities, and personal preferences in mind you can now narrow your location preference and begin your home search.
Numerous online realtor and/or broker websites and resources are available to search areas, home sizes, price ranges, school districts, etc. However, use caution when searching online. some websites like Trulia or Zillow are geared toward acquiring consumer contact data to provide sales leads to Realtors for a price. As such, consumers and Real Estate Agents often report that Zillow’s “Zestimates” are inaccurate and misleading in assessing home values. Even so, they have enormous influence, market presence, and consumer popularity.
“The Zestimate® home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. The Zestimate is calculated from public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions.” Feb 7, 2017 Google search result
To avoid pitfalls associated with online searches, get a Realtor who can set up an accurate and automatic home search that emails MLS listings directly to you as they become available.
If you are interested in buying a home and live in the Cincinnati, Ohio or Suburban Cincinnati area, you can start by contacting me, and I will be glad to help you develop a plan to achieve your real estate goals.
Posted in: Buyers