Rose Asks.. I want to buy a home, what is my best strategy for right now?

Be an attractive risk. Your credit score determines the interest rate a bank will give you on your mortgage and the difference between decent and terrific credit can add up to tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Improve your score by paying down your credit card and make sure that your debt doesn’t exceed 30% of your available credit. But don’t close the accounts when you pay them off as this will also hurt your score.

Buy only what you can afford. The less money you put down on a house, the more you will pay in fees and interest. You should not spend more than a third of your total pre-tax income on housing costs; mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance (figure 1% annually), and property taxes.

Choose your loan carefully. Many homeowners are in trouble because they took out adjustable mortgages with low interest rates that later spiked. A 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is your best bet—adjustable mortgages can be good if you know you aren’t going to be in the house more than 5 years, have rate caps and you know the limitations.

Low-ball ‘em. Bidding wars over a house are uncommon in today’s housing market. Seller’s anticipate having to drop their asking price, so don’t bite at the listing price. Bid low and see if the seller will come down.

Work with a real estate professional to guide you through the maze of paperwork and negotiations!

Meet Cheryl!

About Cheryl

As a successful business owner and community leader, Cheryl Braunschweiger is known and respected for getting things done with a degree of skill and enthusiasm that bring out the best in those around her - colleagues, clients and friends. The name of her business, ALMC Mortgage, reflects Cheryl's philosophy and personality. She says it stands for All Loans Must Close –a reflection of her determination to do whatever it takes to serve her clients. Cheryl has been in the mortgage lending business for 20 years. Read More About Cheryl
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