I’m 3-6 Months From Buying a Home, What Should I be Doing Now to Get Ready?

Plan ahead! I can’t stress that enough. Buying a home is a process that usually takes about 3-4 months from the time you start seriously looking with your agent to actually moving into your new house.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re ready.

Talk to a Lender (Mortgage Broker)

The sooner you do this, the better. As you probably know, the rules of the game have changed, but that doesn’t mean that getting a loan is as difficult as you may think. You need to talk to a qualified professional to get an idea of what you’ll be able to afford when you are ready to buy. There are many reasons (besides the obvious) that make this important.

  1. You may need to increase your credit score. There are some simple ways to do that, but don’t try to do it yourself unless you know what you are doing. Your credit score can be tricky; sometimes you may think you are doing something smart (like closing unused credit cards), but that may actually harm your score rather than help it.
  2. You need to know what loan program will best fit you. If you were to buy a typical Conejo Valley home (prices) with traditional financing, you would need 20% down, plus closing costs and cash reserves. For a $800,000 home, that comes out to about $200k+. However, if you don’t have an extra $200,000 lying around, don’t let that discourage you.  There are low down payment financing options available and more are coming out all the time.
  3. You’ll have time to mentally get used to the payment before you have to start making it…which brings up the next tip.

Pretend Like You Already Own

This is a great tip to make sure you are ready and you won’t get in over your head. Let’s say you are renting and your rent payment is $2700 a month. After you meet with a lender, you determine that your new house payment will be $3400 a month. Start stashing that $700 difference in a separate account immediately to make sure you can handle the payment. Worst case is that you realize you can’t afford it, but at least you’re on your way to saving for the future. Best case, you’ll already have your first couple payments saved. (Keep in mind that the tax advantages of owning a home will make your net payment less than the $700 difference).

Start Searching for Conejo Valley Homes Online

Now for the fun part.  There are tons of different sites out there where you can search for homes; however many of those sites don’t have all the available homes for sale in your area. Click here to search all of the available homes directly from the MLS. And if you don’t know our local neighborhoods yet, I have profiled over 100 Conejo Valley neighborhoods right here.

Talk to a Realtor

At some point, you’ll want to start actually looking at homes. The next step is to talk to a qualified Realtor (I know a good one 🙂 ) that knows the area you are looking and can help negotiate and manage your purchase. This may be the most important decision regarding your home purchase that you make.

Be wary of the Realtor who’s willing to jump right and in and start showing you homes after a 2 minute phone conversation. A good Realtor will schedule a sit down consultation to take you through the home buying process and get to know your goals and objectives before jumping in the car.  Over the next several months, you will be spending a lot of time and extending a lot of trust to your agent and you want to make sure it’s a good fit.

 

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