Sick and tired of renting an apartment? Ready to truly get out there on your own? Maybe you’ve tied the knot and you’re thinking about starting a family, while realizing that your rental isn’t really the ideal place for that. How do you even start the home buying process, though? Should you just apply for Long Island home loans and hope for the best? Should you bother with pre-approval? What about pre-qualification? Are you even ready for homeownership?
Before You Start Shopping
Before you set foot out that door intent on comparing home prices and styles, you need to think long and hard about homeownership itself. It’s an immense responsibility. It’s not just the monthly mortgage payment or the insurance, either. You’ll be responsible for all maintenance and repairs – there’ll be no landlord to help you out in that regard.
Beyond that, you need to make sure that you’re planning to stay in the area for quite some time. A home mortgage is a long-term commitment, and while you can certainly sell your home and move, it’s much more complicated when there’s a house involved, rather than a simple rental agreement. If you’re not planning to stick around for quite a few years, renting might be the best choice for the moment.
Additionally, you also need to make sure that you’re in good financial shape before you even start the process to apply for Long Island home loans. How’s your credit score? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Understand that your credit score will affect a lot of things, ranging from whether a lender will even give you the time of day to the amount you’ll be required to use as a down payment.
It’s also not just about your credit score. You need to get a copy of your actual credit report and run down the items listed. Often, you’ll find old entries that should have been removed, and even debts that aren’t yours. Those issues need to be handled before you approach a lender, or even start looking at homes. If your credit isn’t so great, take the time now to rebuild your financial standing. Just the difference between 680 and 700 can have an enormous impact on what you’re required to pay as a down payment.
Know What You Can Spend
The advice is old, but still sound. Know your budget when shopping for a home. That means doing more than just figuring out what you can afford in terms of a monthly loan payment. You need to know how much you can afford to spend overall, the amount a lender will give you to purchase a home. Again, this needs to be done before you get your heart set on a particular house or piece of property, so avoid the heartache and get pre-approved for Long Island home loans first. Shop second, once you have your financial information in hand.
What we’re talking about here is getting pre-approved (or, better yet, using the 1st Approval program with Reliant Home Loans). Essentially, this is the first three-quarters of getting a mortgage loan in the first place. You’ll need the same documents and information, and a lender will tell you exactly how much they’re willing to offer.
With this information in hand, you know exactly what you can spend. It’s also important to note that this is the maximum amount the lender is willing to offer. You’re under no obligation to spend that much. Balance the pre-approved loan amount against your actual financial situation and determine just how much you want to pay for a house in the first place.
As a note, it’s very important that you shop around for Long Island home loans. Not all lenders are the same, and it is more than worth your while to compare your options before signing on the dotted line.
Work with a Real Estate Agent
Once you’ve been pre-approved for Long Island home loans, you need to find a pro to work with you in the home buying process. Yes, you can do it on your own, and save the commission the realtor will charge, but you’ll find that it’s actually well worth the extra cost to have access to the additional listings, professional help and other assistance a realtor can provide.
After you’ve seen a few houses and found one you like, you’ll make an offer. The seller will either make a counter offer, ignore you (unlikely if you’re pre-approved) or accept your offer. Then, it’s only a matter of time before closing rolls around, and you become the proud owner of a new (or new-to-you) home.
If you’ve weighed your options and decided that buying a home is the right step to take, get in touch with Reliant Home Loans to get started.
Gregory A. Topal
Gregory is Co-Founder and Licensed Loan Originator at Reliant Home Funding, Inc., a Long Island based Mortgage Company. Gregory currently holds a Mortgage Loan Originator License in NY, NJ, CT, CO, FL and PA and plays an active role in running the company. (NMLS #: 38684)
Gregory was raised in Long Island, NY and attended SUNY Oneonta receiving a Business and Marketing degree in 2004. Shortly after graduating he started a career in Real Estate and has been fortunate enough to advance his career throughout the years. He believes his success can be attributed to consistently striving to exceed the expectations of his clients and colleagues.