By Kim Olson
Can you really be frugal buying a home? Especially when it comes to being a little tight in order to make a profit these days? Turns out you can, but you have to have a plan before you sign the dotted line.
When it comes to buying a home if you want to be frugal even though interest rates are near historic lows these days and the real estate market is soft (making it a prime environment for buyers), lenders are extremely picky about just who they lend money to. So before you buy a home, spend at least some time to get your finances in order and make sure you have everything you need to get the loan you want, before you buy.
Get Your Documents in Order
Run your credit report. Make sure it’s clean and get your tax returns together, including proof of income, and other verifying documents. Although many lenders are going to put you through the process them selves, it’s important to have your ducks in order, and a bank or mortgage lender will be very impressed if you’ve already got everything arranged so that they just have to look at everything.
Shop for the Best Rates and Terms
The Internet is a great place to start; depending on your credit score and other figures, you may or may not be eligible to go through certain lenders. However, do your homework first and get some likely lenders lined up before you contact any of them. You can narrow down your choices from there.
These days, some lenders are absolutely requiring that buyers put down 20% as a down payment before they’ll approve a mortgage. Some lenders even want buyers to put down 30%. The bigger the down payment you can make, the better your choices when it comes to lenders and interest rates.
Buyers Broker or Agent
Although you’ll sometimes pay a little bit upfront to work with a broker or real estate agent who works only with buyers as opposed to simply going through the process of buying a house solo, the move is likely to save you significant money over the long run. That’s because a real estate agent who is working for the seller is not beholden to tell you anything in many states.
Retain your own broker or real estate agent, and make sure that broker or real estate agent only works for buyers, so that there’s no potential conflict of interest.
Opt for Pre-Approval
If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, this shows sellers you are absolutely serious about buying a house, which means a seller is going to be much more willing to negotiate on price. Being frugal like this is a wise step in the home buying process.
Getting the house you want independently inspected before you buy is going to bring to light any problems that may make it inadvisable to buy. Almost all homes have issues of one type or another. Even if you do find problems that are repairable, they’ll help you negotiate on price, since you can often either lower the purchase price on the home or have the seller fix those problems as a condition of buying the house.