If you are in the market for a house, being prepared before you start shopping is key. This includes knowing your credit score, obtaining a preapproval letter from your mortgage lender, and finding a good real estate agent. Deidre Davis, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union Chief Marketing Officer, shared a few things to do before you start looking for your dream home.
You should save for a down payment. Not only is one required by most lenders, it will reduce the amount you need to borrow. Most lenders require a certain percentage of the purchase price as a down payment.
You should also save for other expenses including moving costs or household items like rakes, trash cans, and cleaning supplies. You should also consider extra costs for inspections and your current living arrangements if you need to sell a house or end an apartment lease.
A good real estate agent and lender will want you to be equipped, informed, and comfortable, so ask all the questions you have. You’re paying for their expertise and guidance, and having a thorough understanding about buying a home is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself.
When you begin house hunting, don’t be surprised if you end up changing your mind about what you want. You may realize your criteria is incompatible with your budget or the neighborhoods you prefer. Be prepared to reprioritize nonnegotiable items or wait until you can afford what you want.
You should also keep in mind much can be changed or fixed to meet your specific preferences. This includes paint color, light fixtures, carpeting, landscaping, and other cosmetic changes. Don’t let such things get in the way of a great home.
A home inspection is very important! Even for a newer home, an inspection is important to find small items to be fixed or larger issues that could become deal breakers. Work with your real estate agent to determine what is realistic to ask the seller to repair. When there is a safety or structural issue, it’s absolutely vital to negotiate with the seller to make repairs, or walk away.
MSUFCU offers a wide range of mortgage products, from a First Time Home Buyer program to conventional and adjustable-rate mortgages. The Credit Union also offers home improvement loans and home equity lines for those interested in renovating or remodeling. Members with existing mortgages can save money with a mortgage rate modification. With this program, members may be able to lower their rate and possibly shorten the term of their loan.
In addition, MSUFCU now offers mortgages in 12 states, counting Michigan, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
Members can apply for mortgages through the MSUFCU Mobile app., msufcu.org or at any of our branches.