The Dos and Don’ts of House Buying

If you have never purchased a home before, you may feel completely out of your depth when it comes time to do so. After all, with no experience, you may not know how much money you will need, whether you need to use a real estate agent, how you get finance, and a whole lot more besides. The experts at EXIT Real Estate Consultants in DeRidder say that it is easy to make mistakes when buying your first home. Below are a few of the dos and don’ts when the time comes to buy a home.

Do make sure you know what your credit score is before you begin applying for finance. There are many credit reporting companies that will allow you to check your individual score. Some banks provide FICO scores for free. It is important to know what your score is because if it is too low it can affect your chances of securing a low-rate mortgage product. It could be that there is a mistake on your report that is affecting your score, or maybe you are using too much of your available credit. If so, paying down some of your debt could improve your score.

Do get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. Knowing what you can afford to borrow will allow you to look at properties in your price range and prevent you from being disappointed should you fall in love with a house you cannot afford.

Do use a buyers’ agent. Working with a real estate agent can make the process much easier. A good agent will work for you to get the best deal and will have access to all the listed properties in the area you would like to buy in. Some will even get notified of new listings by their colleagues before they appear on the Multiple Listing Service, which can give you an edge.

Do budget for other expenses such as attorney services, closing fees, and home furnishings. When saving for your down payment, think about the extra money that you will need, and save up a bit more before you apply for a mortgage and look for that perfect property.

Don’t look at homes that are priced at the very top of your pre-approved mortgage amount. It is much better to start your search below the maximum amount you are approved to borrow. You may find the perfect property at a lower price, which will save you money.

Don’t assume you need to have a down payment of 20 percent. Although it was once the standard to have a minimum of 20 percent as a down payment, many lenders are willing to offer mortgages to those with less than this. You might need to buy private mortgage insurance to minimize the risk to the lender, but you may be able to access a mortgage with a down payment of just 3 percent.

Don’t borrow more money during escrow. If you take out another loan for things like furniture or even a car during escrow, it could affect the amount the lender is willing to give you. Do not forget that a part of the underwriting process on a mortgage is checking your debt to income (DTI) ratio. If this increases, your mortgage offer may be withdrawn or reduced significantly, affecting your ability to buy the property.


There is a lot to think about when it comes to buying a home. If you can avoid making some of the more common mistakes you should find the whole buying process less stressful. It always pays to get professional advice from an attorney or buying agent.

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