While the home buying process itself only takes around 30 to 45 days, most buyers will find significant benefits to reducing debt, saving money, and getting their financial documents in order 6 to 12 months ahead of time. Today’s tips from Realtor Suzi Farajiani can help you get organized so that you’ll be ready when the right home comes along.
Choose your realtor wisely.
While all licensed realtors have gone through much of the same training, they will not have the same set of experiences, negotiation skills, or personalities. Your realtor matters, as they can mean the difference between landing a deal or not. Suzi Farajiani is a full-time realtor in Los Angeles, and she has a history of closing deals, even on highly sought-after waterfront homes and condos.
Know how much home you need.
Before you start looking at houses, come up with a realistic idea of how much home you really need. While some people say that 1000 ft.² per person is ideal, that’s not necessarily true. Layout also matters, and a smaller home with a more efficient layout will do you far more good than an expansive property that can’t be utilized properly. The Financial Samurai blog suggests that anywhere between 1816 and 3027 ft.² is ideal for a family. Talk to your agent about the types of homes typically found in your area.
Evaluate your income.
You obviously have to know how much money you make before you buy a home. But, you should also evaluate the types of money you have coming in. If you are a freelancer or a business owner, for example, you may be required to jump through financial hoops to get financed. To streamline the process, consider forming a limited liability company (check your state's guidelines first) so that you will have an employment history as you will pay yourself directly through the LLC. To find out more about the best LLC formation services available, click here. Your lender may also appreciate running your business as an LLC since that separates your personal liability from your property.
Research financing options.
Not everyone qualifies for a conventional loan. Even if you think you might, it doesn’t hurt to know the different types of financing options available to you. If you’re a veteran, you might be better off with a VA loan, which requires no money down. And, as Freedom Mortgage explains, you may qualify with a credit score of just 600. An FHA loan is also an option. However, you will not be able to get rid of your private mortgage insurance unless you refinance with a conventional loan later on.
Pay off debt.
If you’re dealing with debt, know that it is possible to reduce your debt load therefore making you more likely to qualify for a higher home loan. Start by paying off your smallest debt, and then take that monthly payment and put it toward the next biggest debt. You can also consolidate into a lower-interest loan. Another option: sell your second vehicle. Cars.com explains that the global microchip shortage has driven the price of used cars higher than ever before, and you can use this money to get out of debt.
Look at your bank account.
Our final tip of the day is to evaluate your bank account for automatic payments that you may have forgotten about. Things like TV subscriptions, gym memberships, streaming music, and monthly membership boxes can all add up. Your Netflix, gym membership, Spotify, and Birchbox may be costing you $100 per month combined. While your lender won’t consider these when reviewing your credit, these little extras may impact your ability to pay your other debts.
There’s no magic formula for everyone when it comes to preparing to buy a home. However, your creditors will look at your character, capital, and capacity to repay your loan. It helps when you’re running your own LLC as a way to bring in more income. If you’re still not sure or you’re struggling, consider working with a qualified credit counselor or financial advisor before you start your home search.
Realtor Suzi Farajiani specializes in residential buying and selling with an emphasis on marketing properties as well as consulting and negotiating for investment purposes. Team up with Suzi today by calling 805.630.3894!
Article Contribution by: Julian Lane