A new study came out recently that said many people are still interested in buying and owning a home, even with all the mess that’s been the housing market over the past few years. Of course, there are a lot of great deals in many states so it makes buying attractive. Still, one has to ascertain if they’re actually ready to buy a new home. Here are 5 things to take care of before you get into it all.

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1. Check your credit report. This is actually more important than your credit score, which I’ve always contended is worthless to begin with. Your credit score is what ends up being used to determine your credit worthiness anyway so it’s the place to start. Look to see if there are any negatives on your report. If so, take care of them, or at least have a response to them because if you see it, a potential mortgage officer will see it as well.

2. Check your income. People are always encouraged by real estate representatives to buy more home than they can afford. That’s because it gives them a bigger commission; they’re just not going to tell you that. If you make $40,000 a year you’re not going to be able to afford a $200,000 home; trust me on this one. Even at 4% mortgage loan rates, don’t do it. Base everything on three things: a) how easy you can pay your present bills; b) how much more you can pay monthly on a mortgage (and escrow in some states) than what you’re currently paying for rent; c) how much your utilities are now because they’re going up (at least double, in some cases 10x).

3. Do some online research. This is really important. Almost every single home you’re looking for is online, but you won’t see them all because not one site will show everything. However, what a site will show you are styles of houses, neighborhoods those homes are in, information about those neighborhoods and prices. Tp have at least some idea of what you want, this is a major help.

4. Talk to your friends that own homes about the process and their realtor. Some realtors are great to work with; others are horrible. Also, the process of buying a home can be stressful; it took us 6 weeks to get the home we selected.

5. Don’t start the process if you don’t have free time to go look at houses. Trust me, you’ll be amazed at how long it takes to look at houses once you start. You’ll find something you like in almost every home and you’ll find things you don’t like in almost every home. Very few people buy the first home they look at unless they’ve done some research online first and saw pictures of every room. When I was looking we were in a couple of houses for almost an hour. It’s not always fun, and you need to be in the mood so space things out and don’t rush. There’s always another house to look at so never feel pressured by anyone.

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