It is a great time to buy real estate for many home buyers. Rates are very low and homes are still affordable in Wisconsin, yet prices are on the rise. Low rates over the course of a 30 year loan can save you tens of thousands of dollars or more in housing costs so get started now with these nine tips.
Here are 9 tips to help Wisconsin home buyers make buying a home reality:
1. Check your credit report and… what is a good enough score?
Lenders use credit scores and reports to determine your risk factor and how responsible a borrower you are. Be sure to check your report for accuracy and report any errors. According to Bankrate.com, 740 is the score that will usually get the best mortgage rates. (And, this number can fluctuate so talk to your local lender.) You can still get a loan with a lower score but perhaps with less favorable terms.
2. Get preapproved for a mortgage.
It makes no sense to begin a home search with no idea how much you will be able to afford and borrow. Sit down with a local lender to determine the amount you can be preapproved to borrow. Showing the documentation to sellers along with an offer to purchase adds strength to your offer – less risk for the seller.
3. Save your money and delay large purchases.
There are some up front costs with buying a home such as a downpayment and closing costs. Plan and save for these. You should also not make large purchases on credit when you are in the buying process – read no new cars and wait on ordering new furniture – it could affect your credit line in the lender’s eye and derail your purchase.
4. Talk with a lender about downpayment options.
The bigger your downpayment, the less money you have to borrow. Can you do 20%? Great. If not, you may qualify for some special assistance programs or an FHA loan with low downpayments of around 3%. It is important to have knowledge of these options and have a plan.
5. Think about what you WANT to spend each month rather than what you CAN spend.
Just because the bank or a mortgage calculator tells you that you can afford “X” amount a month doesn’t mean you must spend that. Consider what you are comfortable with spending on a monthly mortgage. It may be much less and this is an important thing to consider.
6. What do you NEED in a home? What would be nice to have but not a deal breaker?
Now that you know what you can afford, what kind of house do you want? Think about the style, the size, the amenities you think you need – versus the ones you want or would be nice to have. It will be very helpful in your home search to have a clear idea of what you are looking for.
7. Where do you want to live? What do you want nearby?
Very important! It will take a lot of searching if you can’t narrow down your geographic preferences to at least a county or several communities. What do you want to be near? Schools, shopping, nightlife? A helpful tool First Weber offers on firstweber.com enables you to search around a property to see what the neighborhood offers in terms of parks, schools, shops, restaurants and more. You can access it off any listing detail page on firstweber.com. Once on the property detail page click the map for a larger map and see point of interest search around the property.
8. Get accurate listing information – download our app
We’d love for you to start at firstweber.com or by downloading our up-to-the-minute app (iphone/ipad version or andriod) where we include listings across Wisconsin – and not just First Weber listings but those from all participating brokers.
9. Find a real estate agent.
Maybe you know an agent, maybe not. You can search for First Weber agents by name, office or specialty. You don’t need to have an agent to ask for more information about a property or request a showing on firstweber.com. But before you get serious about home buying, talk to your real estate agent about buyer agency/representation.
So, there you go. Nine tips to get you on the road to homeownership in Wisconsin. We hope you found this information helpful.
First Weber sells real estate throughout Wisconsin: Metro Milwaukee and Southeastern WI, South Central Wisconsin, Southwest Wisconsin, Western Wisconsin, Central Wisconsin, Northeast Wisconsin and Wisconsin’s great Northwoods. You can start searching for Wisconsin real estate and Wisconsin real estate agents at firstweber.com
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