First Things First

The busiest home-buying time of the year is just around the corner. But as savvy buyers know, there are a few things you’d be wise to do before you even begin to pound the pavement this spring. They are:

Checking your credit.

You’d be surprised how often people find mistakes on their credit report: closed charge accounts that appear as available credit or repaid loans that show up as outstanding, are just two examples. You’ll want to clear up any mistakes before they impede your ability to secure the financing you’ll need to fund your home purchase.

Getting pre-approved by your lender.
In addition to helping you establish your budget (an important thing to do before shopping for anything), mortgage preapproval means you can act more quickly than nonapproved buyers once you find the right property – and that’s particularly important during the spring season, when competition for homes can be stronger.

Establishing your needs and wants.
How can you expect to find what you’re looking for when you haven’t yet figured out exactly what that is? If you don’t establish your must-have criteria before you start looking at homes, you’re likely to spend precious time viewing properties that aren’t a good fit for you, and spend more money than you intended.

Hiring a real estate sales representative.
Sure, you could wait until you’re ready to buy to hire representation, but doing so before starting the homehunting process means ending your search a lot more quickly. Plus, your rep can help you with the other items on this list, such as securing a loan pre-approval and figuring out what it is you need in your next home.

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