Buying a home probably isn’t a New Year’s resolution the way that getting in shape or getting organized is. But with interest rates low, credit easing, home price gains moderating and rents rising, purchasing a first home this year may be easier to attain than the ever-present 10 pounds is to lose.
Go ahead and start browsing online, but consumers who are serious about buying a home this year should leave themselves time to do the financial homework, number-crunching and list-making that will increase the chances of getting handed a new set of keys.
Potential buyers first need to consider their financial situation. Mortgage lenders say it’s easier to qualify for a mortgage than it was a few years ago, but there’s still a lot of paperwork and double-checking that goes into getting approved.
A mortgage banker or broker will pull a credit report on a prospective borrower and pre-qualify someone for a purchase sum up to a certain amount. Keep in mind though, that pre-qualification mortgage limits aren’t necessarily the same as the amount of money a buyer is comfortable spending. It might be more realistic to think in terms of how much of a monthly payment can someone be comfortable with.