Buy the home you'll build a life in
Homeownership is a milestone to celebrate. Before you can pop open champagne, you'll need to prepare for the home-buying process.
What to know before you buy
Before you begin your home-buying journey, make sure you understand your financial health.
- Your credit score. In short, the higher your credit score, the better mortgage rate you can get. You can get a free credit report every year. Examine your copy and follow the processes to correct errors and make modifications.
- The difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification. Pre-qualified means you are on the road towards approval; pre-approved means you’ve applied and heard “yes”.
- How much you can afford. The rule of thumb is three times your annual income. A loan officer can help you narrow it down to a more precise amount and even provide a pre-qualification letter.
- Total cost of ownership (TCO). In addition to the monthly payments, consider local taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, renovations and association fees (if any). Calculate what you can afford.
Insights for first-time homebuyers
Get closer to closing
Once you're ready to make a move, here are some actionable steps that will take you from dreaming to doing.
- Select a mortgage type & lender; get pre-approved. You will need to provide satisfactory income verification
- Find a real estate agent & attorney. Ask for referrals from your network, interview candidates and ask for references. Have your attorney review the contract.
- Compare neighborhoods. Consider property taxes, school systems, amenities and commuting costs.
- Make an offer & negotiate. Your agent can guide you on an appropriate offer and include any requests you have.
- Make it official. Be prepared to sign papers at the closing. Your attorney will let you know exactly what you need to bring.
- Get the keys & celebrate. Congrats! You're now a homeowner.
Mortgage loan insights
All loans are subject to credit approval.