There is no shortage of advice for 1st time buyers right now. A lot of the advice is informative, sometimes overwhelming and frankly never ending. Credit scores, bank rates, realtors, home inspectors, lead paint info, lenders, FHA financing, attorneys, blah, blah, blah.
So, how do you sift through this mountain of well-intended information and must-do checklists?
Why not start at the beginning?
Step one: What can you afford and are you qualified for the loan? Whether you're the sole purchaser or a couple thinking about Somerville real estate or an Arlington home, our first suggestion is for you to get a copy of your credit score. Banks are being more selective and have tightened their lending practices, so you need to look like a "good investment" to them. Some polishing and cleaning up of your credit might be necessary, so you can start that process immediately! Or if your credit looks good, you can proceed to look for a lender that best suits you.
Annual Credit Report.com will issue you one free report per year or you could purchase one for $15.95 from MyFico.com. Your FICO score is the "rating" that your individual credit history has earned you as a borrower. Banks are paying very close attention to this number when qualifying applicants for any mortgage.
In addition to your FICO score, be sure to do your home work on the $8,000 first time buyer tax credit before speaking to your lender.
Finding a lender (and we suggest speaking to several), and deciding on the type of loan that will be best for you and your future may take some time. It is best to sit down with a mortgage originator and start the application process before you are under the time line pressure of making an offer or feeling fearful of losing the property that is right for you.
Once you have your pre-approval letter in hand, you can match your approved loan amount to the prices of properties available in communities throughout the Boston area that are appropriate for you.
Sounds pretty easy?
Great, step one completed, see you in a few days with step two.
Here's some Additional Resources:
Service Providers ( Attorneys, Home Inspectors, Mortgage Originators, etc.)
Avenue 3 Quick Property Search (search all current listings, open houses and sold properties)