Despite all the technology available for finding your dream home, preparing in full still takes time and research. Regardless of whether or not you're a first-time buyer or a veteran who's purchased multiple residences over the years, it's important to navigate your home search with the following steps in mind:
- Build Up Your Savings
Lenders nationwide continue to have stringent lending standards, requiring significant amounts of capital for prospective borrowers in order to secure a home loan.
Make sure you focus on building wealth before even considering your home purchase. This will ensure you have more than enough funds to convince lenders that you're ready to become a homeowner and handle the subsequent mortgage payments.
- Improve Your Credit Score
As many prospective Washington buyers know, how much money you have in the bank isn't the only factor considered by lenders-- your credit score strength can also play a huge role. Luckily, the math is pretty simple: the higher your score, the better you look!
For some, raising your credit score is easier said than done. Even if you have a strong credit score, make sure you're doing things like paying all of your bills on time and in full. If you need to, set goals for eliminating outstanding debts and do your best to avoid opening new lines of credit.
Remember that aiming for a higher credit score not only improves the odds of securing a home loan, but it also increases the likelihood of favorable loan terms!
- Get Mortgage Pre-Approval
Once you have all your finances in order, it's time to head to your a lender for a home loan pre-approval. You may have heard or read the term "pre-qualification" in your research thus far, but it's important to understand the difference between the two before you get in touch with a lender:
- Pre-Qualification - A lender's estimate of how much house you can afford (often available online)
- Pre-Approval - A lender has deemed you worthy of receiving a mortgage
Once you've handled your finances, you can confidently continue on the search for your new Washington home! Make sure you're taking a look at what's available in the area and reach out to a trusted buyer's agent for more details on what comes next.