Basic Things to Know When Buying a Home

The most important investment you will ever make is probably the purchase of a home. Finding the right home can be a long and arduous process, but there is no getting around that.

Know Your Wants And Needs

Before embarking on your journey of house hunting, you must know what you really want to find. Sit down with pen and paper and list all the features you care most about, such as:

– Location (in a particular city, school district or neighborhood)

– Size — how many bedrooms and bathrooms

– Parking — a 1-car garage or 2?

– Style — 2-story house or ranch style home?

– Heating — central heating and/or air conditioning?

Equally important, on a new sheet of paper list all the features you absolutely do not want in a house. For example:

– high-traffic area.

– high noise area (airport, train station or highway in close proximity)

– maintenance — major repairs needed

As you look at houses, keep both lists in mind. Your lists may change over time as you do more looking. You’ll want to add or remove features, or perhaps you’ll become willing to make compromises. Realize that you most likely will not find the “perfect” home. Experienced homebuyers will tell you, perfect homes are not found, they are made perfect through hard work.

Get Your Credit Report In Order

Prior to looking at properties, you must get your finances in order. This is the time to review your credit report and clean it up, if need be, to maximize your credit score. Many people do not realize how important it is to check your credit report periodically to make sure it is accurate. You should pay off any past due amounts, or negotiate a settlement price to close the debt. Get such agreements in writing, before paying any settlement. Keep all receipts for any settled items from your credit report since it may take months to get the debt actually removed. You can obtain a free credit report once a year from www.AnnualCreditReport.com

Research Your Home-Buying Options

Decide what kind of property you are interested in. Do you want a HUD property, a foreclosure, real estate, or property for sale by owner?

A number of web sites list homes according to city, state, or price range. Visit these sites to see pictures of homes, many with virtual tours, and review the listing features.

Get Pre-Approved For A Loan

You’re ready now to find a lender and get yourself pre-approved for the loan. Being pre-approved offers a number of advantages. It will clarify the price range you can afford. Also, once you find the home you want, you can place an immediate offer. If you have to wait for pre-approval, someone could buy the house right out from under you. Feel free to contact me to obtain a pre-approval.

Find A Good Real Estate Agent

It is wise for a first time homebuyer to work closely with a real estate agent, no matter what type of property you’re looking for. A knowledgeable real estate agent will make your house-hunting much easier. A good real estate agent is usually a good negotiator, and will be able to help you with the complicated paperwork involved in placing an offer on a house or in closing a deal.

To select a real estate agent, you should check with your friends and neighbors for recommendations. Find an agent you feel comfortable with and who is knowledgeable about the area you hope to buy in.

These are just the basics of home buying. You will find many details you need to master as you move through the buying process, but having these basics under your belt will give you a head start.

3 Hot Tips To Boost Your Fico Score

Building a good credit score is a long term process. As they say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Beware of quick fixes. There are none except for the quick fix of getting into your wallet by way of a scam, and there are some out there. Here are three hot tips to boost your credit score.

Today, one of the biggest components of your FICO score is the percentage of available credit you are using. This is also known as your Utilization Ratio. The traditional way of course is to pay down your accounts to improve the percentage. The higher the percentage the lower the score. There is another way.

1. ASK FOR CREDIT INCREASES:

This achieves the same result-decreasing the percentage of credit used. Just be careful not to use the new found “wealth”. That is like shooting yourself in the foot. Be careful not to ask for too much of an increase.

2. PAY OFF YOUR BILLS:

Pay them off not when they are due but before they are due. Find the statement date (usually 20 or so days before the due date) and pay it off a day or so early. That brings your account balance to zero dollars, thus increasing the percentage of available credit. If you pay the bill on the due date it will not have the same effect.

3. DON’T TOSS THOSE OLD CARDS:

Many have found out about this one the hard way. If you are not using an old card for any reason do not throw it away. Take advantage of it and charge small amounts occasionally. This results in an active vs. an inactive status for that account. Active accounts are factored into the FICO scoring system-inactive accounts are not.

Using these three hot tips will boost your FICO score almost overnight. Take the knowledge and run with it, and improve your score today.