That’s a big “IF” and many people don’t understand what the “IF” really stands for.

After more than 25 years in the residential mortgage industry, HomeBridge has played a significant part in helping more than a few individuals and families around the country fulfill the dream of home ownership. And unfortunately, we’ve witnessed a few heartbreaks along the way that could have been prevented with just a little bit of planning.

Too often, people who decided mentally that they were ready to buy a home learned the hard way that they were going to miss out on a great opportunity because they didn’t understand the entire process and the things they should have been prepared for well in advance.

The secret to getting a great deal on a home purchase is planning for the right time to buy, not waiting around for it to come along.

Despite what you see on TV and in the news, rates will go up and down, as will home prices. It’s very unlikely the home around the corner will drop $100,000 in price (assuming it was priced appropriately to begin with). What you see advertised in terms of rates are best-case scenarios that may not be applicable to your personal situation.

Buying a home is most likely the most complicated purchase you will ever make. If you’re thinking that this is the year for you to buy a home, or if you’re considering next year to be your year for home ownership, here’s a short list of questions to ask yourself so that when you decide the time is right, you’re able to move quickly to secure the home of your dreams.

  • Are you sure that your identity has not been stolen and that your credit report is accurate? In many cases, people don’t discover they’ve been the victims of identity theft or find out about mistakes on their credit history until they begin the home buying process. Issues with both can take years to fix and hurt your chances of getting a mortgage at a great rate.
  • Do you have enough for a down payment? Down payments are typically between 0 and 20 percent of the price of the home, but just because some people qualify for zero percent down doesn’t mean you will. FHA loans are often in the news because the offer rates as low as 3.5 percent, but again, not everyone will qualify for one of these loans. Keep in mind that the higher your down payment, the less your monthly mortgage payments will be, so you may not want to put down the bare minimum when you purchase a home.
  • Are you prepared for the upfront fees, taxes, and charges that come from the initial purchase of a home? The price of entry into home ownership includes more than just having a down payment set aside and being able to make your monthly mortgage payment. There will be appraisal costs, inspection and attorney fees, as well as other charges that may not look like much individually, but can definitely sting a little if you’re not prepared to pay for them.

If you answered ‘yes’ to the three questions above, then it sounds like this could be the year financially for you to buy a home. If ‘no’ was your answer, there could still be opportunities for you to buy a home this year, but if not, now you can start preparing so you’re ready next year.

Either way, we recommend that your next step is to speak with a mortgage professional for a free pre-qualification and later, a more in-depth pre-approval, to get a stronger estimate of what you can afford. You are under no obligation to work with HomeBridge or any other lender that provides you with one of these, but they’re crucial in determining what size and type of mortgage you’ll qualify for.

With these estimates in hand, you’ll be better able to start window shopping for a home and when the time is right, a Realtor® will be much more likely to help you in your search because they’ll understand that you’re serious about taking the next step towards home ownership.

Interested in speaking with a HomeBridge mortgage professional about purchasing a home? You can find a list of our branches here. HomeBridge is licensed in 49 states, as well as Washington D.C., so if there isn’t a branch near your home, click this link and someone from our National Lending Center will be in touch very soon.

 

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