Keep All Money Right where it is: When you are looking into buying a new home it is crucial that you keep all of your funds right where they are.  For three to six months prior to buying a home avoid taking on any new credit card debt, making a large purchase or taking money out of your savings account.  Your credit report is what mortgage brokers rely on to help lenders determines your credit risk and therefore the interest rate on your new home loan.  It is crucial, in order to get the best mortgage rate, that lenders can visually see where your money is and what it has been spent on.   Now is the time to stick money away and not the time to start purchasing items for the new home.  Spending habits in the months before applying for a mortgage can either help or hurt your ability to receive reasonable mortgage rate.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage: Two terms: pre-qualified and pre-approved are often used when consumers are looking to purchase a new home.   Pre-approval says that a lender has looked at you, your financial criteria and has agreed that you can afford a home and will give you a figure of exactly how much you can afford and how much they will lend to you.

Being pre-approved allows your realtor to narrow the focus down to homes that you are pre-approved for.  Knowing what you can afford significantly increases or decreases the market of homes for you to look into.  With pre-approved loans be sure you are getting the best mortgage available.  Look into hidden expenses and fees for processing; make sure you are not paying for extras in a home loan that are not necessary for your situation.

Survey Property for Boundaries:  When you find a home that you believe is the one the first step is to determine exactly what you are purchasing and for how much.  Do not rely on the property lines specified by the seller as these may be fictitious boundaries that have been observed over time which may not be entirely accurate.  Knowing ahead of time what you are purchasing helps to prevent issues further on down the road with neighboring homes.  It is also important to note that the property taxes that will be assessed are based on the property lines.  This new survey will allow you to have an accurate map drawn up that can be submitted to local property tax assessors.

Timing the Market is Unlikely:  It is unlikely that at any time, even with detailed research and experience in the market that you will be able to time the real estate market.  Don’t obsess trying to time the market; buy a home when you are in the position to and sell based on when it is right for you.  You will only find your perfect home when you can afford it because affording it is what makes it perfect.  The real estate market fluctuates all the time.  In one given year you will see highs, lows and then highs again.  If you wait to try to time the market perfectly it is most likely you will time yourself right out of buying a new home or selling your old one.

In our next installment exploring the secrets of buying a home we will look into why a bigger home isn’t necessarily better, looking into hidden costs outside those of the mortgage payment, the emotions of a buyer, home inspections and the purchase bidding process of a home.

Lady of the Lakes Real Estate is Livingston County’s premiere realtor; out of Pinckney, Michigan helping buyers buy and sellers sell homes that provide a recreational lifestyle including golf courses, lakes and the Huron river chain of lakes, throughout Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and the surrounding area. Find out more at