This is the second in a four part series taken from the article “16 Homebuying Tips from an 8-Time Homebuyer” by Daniel B. Kline, originally published on The Motley Food website, http://www.fool.com, on June 9, 2017. Enjoy! ~ Sabrina
Work with a realtor you trust
In both the places my wife and I have lived in the past decade, we have been lucky to find realtors we trust. Our first realtor helped us navigate buying our first house (after we had owned a co-op previously). He listened to what we wanted and what our capabilities were. Because he took the time to listen, he steered us away from homes that needed work or ones that wouldn’t be good for our then-future child.
It’s OK to meet with more than one realtor to find someone you like. You’re not obligated to work long-term with the first person who shows you a home.
Listen to your realtor
A licensed realtor knows the market. If he or she tells you that a low-ball offer won’t be accepted, odds are he or she is right. The same is true if your realtor warns you about a property or a section of town. Ours saved us from some deals that seemed great to us but would have been disastrous in the long term.
Be prepared to get a mortgage
The hardest part of buying, aside from finding the house you want, is getting a mortgage. You should start preparing to get one long before you begin looking at houses. That means getting your finances in order, having your two most recent pay stubs ready, and digging up your tax forms and W-2s from the past two years. You will also need to share bank statements from at least two months.
Get your credit in check
Aside from income, your credit score will be the most scrutinized piece of data mortgage companies look at. As soon as you even think you may want to buy a house, learn your credit score by going someplace like MyFICO.com and seeing your reports and scores from all three credit bureaus. Check for mistakes in your report and look for areas where you can improve. It’s possible to raise your credit score by doing a number of different things, but an obvious one is making sure you pay off your credit card balances.