The new year is around the corner. If buying a house is at the top of your to-do list for 2023, you may be wondering what you can do to make it happen. In that case, keep reading to learn about the four steps to take now if you want to buy a house next year. Our list will give you a much better idea of how to move forward.
1. Make sure your finances are in order
A home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. So, before you start shopping, it’s a good idea to make sure that your finances are in decent shape. In particular, you should focus your attention on the following areas:
- Your employment history: Lenders like to see at least two years of stable employment. If you have a corporate job, you can bring them W-2s and a recent pay stub. If you’re self-employed, be prepared to show your tax returns.
- Your debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income ratio is the sum of all your monthly debts divided by your total monthly income. Lenders typically ask for a ratio of 43% or less. If your ratio is too high, consider working on paying down your debts or finding ways to bring in extra cash.
- Your savings: Buying a home comes with an upfront cost. You’ll need to have enough money to cover your down payment, which will be at least 3%-5% of the home’s purchase price. Then, you’ll also have closing costs to consider, which typically equal another 2%-5% of your loan amount.
- Your credit score: Finally, you need your credit score to be as high as possible. Lenders like to see scores of 620 and above, although it is possible to get a loan with lower scores. If your score needs work, do your best to make your payments on time and to pay as far above the minimum payment as possible.
2. Get pre-approved by a qualified lender
Once your finances are in decent shape, the next step is to talk to a lender. The right lender can help you get a sense of what loan options could be the best fit for you, based on your financial profile. Then, when you’re ready, they can give you a pre-approval letter.
A pre-approval letter simply states how much you’re able to borrow in a loan. When you’re ready to start shopping for houses, this letter will serve as proof that you’re financially capable of buying the home. However, before that point, it’s also a useful tool to help you determine the maximum amount that you’ll be able to spend on a property.
3. Clarify your wants vs. needs
While you’re working on the steps above, it’s also smart to start thinking about what you’re looking for in a home. Specifically, it can be helpful to start separating your wants from your needs. Doing so will make decision-making much easier once you start looking at properties.
In particular, you may want to think about:
- Price point
- Property type
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Property condition
- Additional features or amenities
4. Find a great real estate agent
Finally, it’s time to find a great real estate agent. If you don’t have one already, consider asking family and friends for recommendations. If that’s not an option, read online reviews to get a sense of who might be the right fit. Don’t be afraid to interview agents until you find one who feels like they might be a good match for you.
Then, it’s time for the fun part: Shopping for your dream home. Your agent can help you find properties that match your criteria and schedule showings. Sooner or later, you’ll be ready to put in an offer.
Ready to get started?
If buying a house is one of your major goals for this year, reach out to Premier Nationwide Lending today. Our experienced lenders can help guide you through the process.
Premier Nationwide Lending is an Equal Housing Opportunity lender. Sponsored by NTFN, Inc. 6201 West Plano Parkway, Suite 100, Plano, TX 75093 | NTFN NMLS 75333.