1) Review your credit. The better your credit is, the better you get treated by your mortgage lenders. Get a free credit report and make sure that there are no errors. Also, make sure you do not open any new accounts between the time you go shopping for the home and the time you close on a home; a new credit account can negatively affect your credit rating. Why are you concerned with this? The better your credit, the smaller the down payment a bank will require from you.
2) How much can you afford? The old rule of thumb is that you can afford two-and-a-half times your salary. Most mortgage lenders will look at 30% of your monthly gross income, and that can be applied to your mortgage payment. Another way of doing it is to think about how much you are paying in rent right now, and when you meet with your mortgage lender you can figure out the equivalent as a mortgage payment.
3) Get pre-approved with a mortgage lender. We recommend movement mortgage; their website is www.movementmortage.com . There is a huge difference between being pre-qualified for a mortgage and pre-approved. Pre-qualified means you have met with a lender and, based on the information they have received, you are qualified for “x” amount of money. That’s basically not worth much more than the paper it is written on. If you are pre-approved, however, it means you are a ready, willing, and able buyer. This matters a lot if you ever get into a bidding war on a property, or if you’re trying to negotiate. So, by all means, get pre-approved. Again, I recommend www.movementmorgage.com for this.
4) Hire a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent works specifically for you, the buyer. This is important because he or she will not have any allegiance to the seller; he or she is working with a fiduciary responsibility to get you the best deal. What we see sometimes in this market is that a lot of buyers want to call the listing agent and negotiate directly. It seems like it might save money, but realize that the buyer is going into negotiations without any representation. With a purchase as large as a house, with a lot of money at stake, it makes sense to have someone whose responsibility is to you, not to the seller.
5) Home inspection. Do not even think of purchasing a home without home inspection. You should get a personal recommendation from your buyer’s agent, and make this a real priority from the beginning. You will sleep well at night knowing that the home doesn’t come with any surprises.
Use this link to search for properties in Rappahannock County, Washington VA – Search Rappahannock County Listings
You can also browse our on-line advertising publication, The Real Estate III Weekly