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If you’ve been dreaming of owning your own home, you may be ready to start looking for something with a dreamy master bedroom, plenty of outdoor entertaining space, and a killer setup for streaming Monday Night Football. But there are a few steps that you need to take before you start your home search to put yourself in the best position to make an offer when you finally find your dream home.
Get Your Finances Ready
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for buying a home is make sure that you are ready for the costs of the purchase and upkeep. This means saving up a downpayment, making sure your credit is in good shape, and setting aside some funds to be ready for the financial responsibility that comes with home ownership.
Get Pre-Approved from a Lender
Sellers love to see your offer come with a pre-approval letter. This means that you have already talked to a lender and are ready to take the next steps. You can do this before you even start your home search. While a pre-approval letter does not mean that you will be automatically approved for the loan, it does show sellers that you are serious. It can also streamline the approval process since you have already provided preliminary information and documents.
Develop a Search Criteria
Avoid making big home purchase decisions in the moment by developing a search criteria. It can be helpful to share this criteria with trusted family and friends and your real estate agent. They can even help you brainstorm! Divide the features and attributes that you want to look for into things that are must-haves and things that are nice-to-haves. You may also want to include things that would be deal-breakers, such as stairs if you have mobility issues or a pool if you don’t want the upkeep.