The start of a new year is often seen as the time to make major changes in life. While many people resolve to start hitting the gym, losing weight, reading more, or making a career change, others may decide to buy a new home in the coming months.

That’s a great goal, one that can change a person’s or a family’s life. If buying a new home is on your 2024 “to do” list, keep in mind the following as you prepare to make your move:

Choose a knowledgeable, experienced loan officer with a reputable mortgage company

buy a homeMany aspects of the homebuying process are tied directly to finances, such as . qualifying for a home loan, determining the best interest rate you can qualify for, and deciding how much of a down payment you’ll need.

These factors play important roles in your purchase. Without a doubt, your most important resource and greatest ally from start to finish will be your loan officer.

Your loan officer should be a professional who knows the ins and outs of the entire mortgage process, can help you through every step of the mortgage process, will work with you to determine how much house you can comfortably afford, can recommend a broad range of real estate industry professionals in your area, and much more. 

Review your credit reports

Your credit reports and scores are crucial in determining if you qualify for a mortgage and what interest rate will be offered.

A higher credit score should result in a lower interest rate, which in turn may allow you to afford a more expensive home.

Reviewing your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, can provide you and your lender with information to help determine your score. Be sure to review your reports carefully and get any inaccurate information corrected before you move forward with the mortgage process. 

Review your budget and decide how much you can comfortably afford

A home can be an excellent investment and moving into a new home is one of life’s most exciting and memorable experiences.

Making sure that your new home is easily affordable is crucial to avoid any financial challenges. Determine a reasonable price range for you and your family, and bee realistic and practical. This will help you make a wise decision and ensure  you’ll be happy in the long run. 

Determine what you want – and need

It may sound basic, but having a clear understanding of exactly what you need and want in your new home is crucial. Does a single-family house best suit your needs?

Is a townhouse, villa or condominium right for you? What area or municipality has the features, character and amenities most attractive to you, your family and your lifestyle?

How many bathrooms and bedrooms do you need? Keep in mind, your needs and wants will evolve over time. That two-story house with a finished basement may be perfect for a family with children. But that same house – and all those stairs – may no longer suit your needs when the kids are grown and flown. 

Learn the market

It’s always reassuring to know you spent your money wisely especially when it comes to a major purchase like a home. Once you have determined your price range and the basic parameters for your new home, the real fun begins! Consider researching your local real estate market as the first step in shopping. Knowing the current market values for the types of homes you prefer in your favorite locations is key to quickly spotting a good deal. Fortunately, doing the necessary research is convenient thanks to excellent online resources and real estate websites.  

Work with your loan officer to find a real estate agent

Remember, your loan officer works every day with a full range of real estate professionals, from real estate agents and inspectors to title companies and more. As a result, your loan officer can help you select a team of professionals, each with a proven track record of excellent results and stellar client satisfaction.  

Once you’ve taken the steps above, you’ll be ready for the exciting adventure of buying a new home. And you’ll be well on your way to making the major changes you have planned in 2024!

Get the service you need; contact a SmartMortgage loan officer

The loan officers at SmartMortgage have exceptional experience in assisting countless buyers with the purchase of their new homes. Regardless of your situation, our loan officers will support you from application to closing and are ready to help you. Contact us today and get the professional advice and service you need.

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The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.