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Preparing to buy a home.

So you've decided to buy a home. Smart move. A home is one of the biggest and best investments you may ever make. But before you start searching for capes or colonials, there are some important steps you can take to make the process easier.

Start with a pre-approval.

How much can you afford? It's a question you need to answer first. That way, you won't waste time looking at houses out of your price range. To find out how much you can afford, you can get pre-approved by a lender. With a mortgage pre-approval, your lender will verify your income, debt, savings, and credit history and help you determine how much you can afford - even before you begin shopping for a home. This simple step offers a variety of benefits, including:

  • Easier home shopping. You'll know exactly how much you can afford even before you begin shopping for your home, saving you valuable time.
  • Improved negotiating power. With a pre-approval in hand, you'll tell home sellers that you're a serious and qualified buyer, giving you a valuable edge over other buyers without pre-approvals in hand.
  • Faster closing. With your credit and income verified, you'll save a step and proceed to closing faster.

Get pre-approved online now.

Finding a real estate professional

To look at homes, you'll need the help of a real estate professional. You can begin by asking for referrals from friends or family members. Once you find a real estate professional, you'll want to discuss your preferences for a home, such as city or town, style of house, number of bedrooms, etc. Your real estate professional will help you narrow your search.

Building a down payment

When you find a home you want to buy, you'll have to come up with a downpayment. Because of other financial obligations you may have, finding downpayment funds can be one of the biggest challenges. Here are some ways to raise the funds.

  • Ask a Mortgage Specialist about low downpayment mortgages.
  • Get a zero point mortgage - you'll need less money up front.
  • Obtain gift funds from a family member.
  • Borrow from your 401 (k) plan.
  • Ask the seller to offer concessions.

Finding the right loan.

Once you find the home, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. There are several types of mortgages available today. Your Metro Mortgage Specialist can help you determine the one that best meets your budget. If you're buying a home, one of the first decisions you must make is whether to choose a fixed-or adjustable-rate mortgage. If you plan to live in your home for only a few years or expect your income to rise, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is ideal. ARMs offer lower fixed rates initially and then may go up or down during the adjustment period, depending on rate conditions. Alternatively, if you plan to stay in your home for several years and prefer the predictability of fixed principal and interest payments, a fixed-rate mortgage may be the better choice for you. To speak to a Metro Mortgage Specialist call 877-MY-METRO ext. 7589.

Saving for emergency expenses.

Owning a home is a big financial responsibility, which is why you'll want to have cash reserves to protect you from unexpected expenses, such as home repairs and maintenance. Start by building a household savings account and set aside funds every month. You'll be glad you did.