5 Helpful Things to be on Your Way to Buying a Home

If you are planning for 2012 to be the year in which you buy yourself a home, here are five helpful things you can do to put yourself on the right path to getting there

1. Check your Credit.

     A bad kind of surprise is a bad credit score, but the worst kind of surprise is a bad credit score while trying to buy a new home. Recent studies have proven that most deal deals in buying a house are because of bad credit. The best way to avoid finding out you have a bad credit score is by checking it often, and taking steps to correcting it while time is still on your side.

2. Do your reasearch.

     It's best to know what you're getting yourself into before you actually begin the process of buying a house. the housing market is changing all the time, so stay up to date with what's changing in your area.

     Target states, cities, & neighborhood- be on the lookout for where you want to move. You should be considering tax rates, school districts, neighborhood character, and prices in that area. Once you have an idea of where you may want to live ask your agent to give you a brief summary of the local market conditions. Conditions such as if homes sell above or below the asking price, and how long they sit on the market.

     Real estate & mortgage pros- Ask your friends for referrals on an agent or broker they like. Follow it up by finding feedback on them and giving them a call. Have a conversation with them and test the waters to see if a good relationship is in the making.

     Short sales & REO's- there's a lot of work to be done on homes that have been a short sale and/or foreclosed. Talk to your agent because they can tell you what to expect when dealing with distressed homes.

     What you get for your money- everyone likes to househunt online when the weather is ugly out. However, nothing like actually being there gives you the real sense of what you could be buying, so get out there and go visit a home.

3. Build your cash cushion.

     No matter how much you save for your down payment, and maybe a little extra for closing costs, you could always use a little extra to activate your buying process. After the closing you can use that little extra cash to do a few repairs, upgrade a few things, and save some money to have laying around for those projects.

4. Shed some stuff.

     Get rid of some of your stuff. Sell it, donate it, or give it to some close friends. This way you can get some cash to put towards your savings by getting cash when you sell it, get a tax receipt, or eliminate early Christmas gifts. Either way you can gain some cash, or not spend as much on gifts for your loved ones.

5. Sit still.

     Contain yourself from making any significant financial moves until you buy your home. Don't quit your job to chase a dream; don't buy any cars on credit, because this will only set you back in the process of buying your home. Just keep your eye on the prize and sit still patiently.

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