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CBFL Tips for Home Buyers

Know what you can afford
When looking for a new home, make your search more effective by knowing how much home you can afford. Carefully calculate the overall monthly payments. Be sure to include additional costs like property taxes, insurance premiums, homeowners insurance, homeowners' association dues (if applicable), etc. Look at your monthly budget to understand how a mortgage payment will fit into it.

Work with a local agent
Pinpoint the area where you'd most like to own a home, and then connect with a real estate agent who works in that area. Make sure that the agent has insights into local matters like taxes, schools, new developments and other issues that may be important to the process. Agents who list homes should also have a good understanding of fair market value for the homes you're considering.

Evaluate your preferred neighborhood

You think you know where you want to buy a home, but how much do you actually know about the neighborhood? Visit the area at different times, including during heavy commute times, weekends and later in the evening. What's the traffic like for kids in the neighborhood? How far is the nearest grocery store? Also, talk with the neighbors in your desired community. What do they like about the area? What do they dislike? Their perspectives may offer greater insight into your desired location.

Get your credit ready
Buying a home may be one of the largest financial decisions you ever make. Be prepared. Get a copy of your current credit report, identify any discrepancies, and get them fixed if possible before you talk to a lender.

Hold off on large credit purchases
Large purchases, such as a car loan or lease, may impact your debt-to-income ratio. Changes to this number may affect your ability to qualify for the loan amount you require. Avoid taking out any loans or adding significant debt to credit lines before you try to purchase a home.

Know where you stand with lenders
Borrowers with higher credit scores like those with scores of 720 or above can often shop around for the lowest available interest rate and get a conventional loan. Borrowers with lower credit scores, especially those with scores of 640 and lower, may experience higher rates because of the potentially higher assumed risk by the lender. For these borrowers, don't be discouraged if you can't get the lowest rate. There often are still many promising loan options available, and the difference in payment due to the higher rate may be less than you expect.

Go for it
Trying to time the market perfectly is impossible. Find the home that is right for you. Waiting may cause you to miss out on lower rates, lower home prices or even that perfect home.


MLS information offered with the co-operation of the Fort Smith Board of Realtors MLS (IDX) Data Share.

Coldwell Banker Fleming-Lau Realty   Sharla Lau Principal Broker   479-782-7285   CBFL.INFO

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