Is a new home purchase in your plans for this year? Chances are high that you have thought about it for quite some time and have even begun making preparations for this life changing and exciting event. At Bank First, we want to help you make the most of your home buying experience and are providing a few tips to help you along the way.
- Calculate the cost and save. Take a look at your current financial condition and determine what payments you can afford. Along with your future mortgage payment, consider property taxes, home insurance and other costs associated with homeownership. Funds saved in advance can be applied to your down payment, upfront or closing fees, and could potentially help you obtain a better mortgage rate and/or lower your monthly mortgage payment. Check out our Home Affordability Calculator tool.
- Check your credit report and score. Be sure to review your recent credit report and resolve any errors. Your credit score helps determine your creditworthiness. To improve your credit score from poor/average to good/excellent, it is important to stay current on your bills, hold off on major purchases, and do not cancel any credit cards – especially those you have had for a long time. A higher credit score can equal a lower interest rate on your loan.
- Obtain pre-approval on your loan. Contact a Bank First lender and discuss different mortgage programs before shopping for your home. This will help you narrow down your choices and ensure the purchase price is within your means. Pre-approval can also help reduce the timeline from loan application to close. Pre-approval gives you negotiating power and could mean the difference of having your offer accepted before others, getting you into your dream home faster.
- Tips for shopping. Create a home shopping list and include your wants (wishes) and needs (requirements). While you are visiting homes, it will be helpful to take photos and make notes to reference in your decision-making process. Be sure to visit the neighborhood during the day and at night to gauge traffic, noise, etc. Test your commute to work and the places you frequently travel to be sure the location works for you.
- Is it time to make an offer? From negotiating the final purchase price to the appraisal and inspection, there are a few more steps to take before closing on your loan and moving in. Buying a home, especially your first one, is a big decision. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and ensure that you understand everything you are agreeing to and the documents you are signing.
Don’t forget that our friendly, experienced Relationship Managers are ready to help you get started on your home buying journey! Ask about the variety of loan programs we have available and any current specials offering great rates.