Planning to purchase a first home

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Planning to purchase a first home

Starting Out 4 Smart Steps to Take Before Buying Your First Home Here are four things you need to do years before you start house-hunting to prepare yourself financially for the biggest purchase of your life.

Thinkstock By Andrea Browne TaylorOnline Editor Updated January Becoming a homeowner can be a daunting process for anyone, especially young adults or those without experience making such big purchases.

Rushing through this long-term, multi-step financial process—deciding how much home you can afford, fixing any blemishes on your credit report and saving for a down payment—can prove tremendously costly.

Years before you even think about hiring a real estate agent and starting an in-person home search, you need to take the time to prepare yourself financially. See Our Slide Show: Consider where you want to live.

Planning to purchase a first home

For many twenty- and thirtysomethings still exploring their career paths, buying a home can really limit their freedom. Experts often advise would-be buyers to plan on staying in a new home no fewer than five to seven years.

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How do you decide which area is best for you to settle down in? You should definitely consider the local job market and cost of living. Other key factors that will likely impact your quality of life: Or people with limited budgets might want to look at cities where they can still have a life outside of the office without having to pay a fortune for it see Best Cities for Cheapskates.

Determine how much home you can afford. Seeing exactly how much homes cost will help you determine how much you can actually afford and how much you'll need to save for a down payment. In the beginning, he was pretty adamant about being in the city—me, not so much.

We soon realized that our list of must-haves a modern home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, central air conditioning and designated parking meant we could only afford a fixer-upper in northwest Washington.

After that reality check, we broadened our search area and settled on a new townhome community located in a Maryland suburb about ten minutes outside D. Your credit score plays an important role in qualifying for a mortgage. A score of or above will help you secure the best interest rates.

In the Washington area, for example, that can be as little as 3. Look up mortgage rates in your area. If your score is lower thanhowever, expect to pay a higher rate. For that same loan in the D. Many young would-be home buyers might find themselves with blemishes on their credit report, thanks to missed student loan or credit card payments.

Lucky for me, I learned long before pursuing homeownership that such behavior comes back to haunt you in the form of a low credit score. If you check your credit report early, you'll have ample time to correct any issues.

If you notice a problem in one report, be sure to check with the other two bureaus, too. You can dispute an error by contacting the credit bureau directly. Note that your free credit report does not include your actual credit score. You'll usually have to pay to see your FICO score.The Home of the 4 Hour Investor Grade Business Plan.

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3. Get a mortgage pre-approval Most first-time buyers need to finance their home purchase, and a consultation with a mortgage lender is a crucial step in the process.

Find out how much you can. Here are 4 tips to ensure a future home purchase. A good budget plan begins before a homebuyer makes an offer. These tips can help. Which debts should you pay off first?

Steps to Buy a House: A Guide for First-Time Home Buyers |®