Making the jump from renting to homeownership is an exciting one. But knowing where to begin the buying process can be a bit confusing, especially if you’ve never purchased a house before. Whether you’re completely new to homebuying or have an idea of what to expect, we’re here to help you figure out how to make getting the right home a reality.

Do Some Research
First things first: you probably wouldn’t buy an appliance or purchase a car without doing a little digging into what you’re getting, and buying a house is no different. Take a look at your current monthly bills and expenses to get a good idea of your spending habits. Having a monthly mortgage payment is one thing, but also take into consideration the costs of furniture, home maintenance, utilities, and property taxes.

Additionally, starting a wish list for features that the right home will have can also be helpful. What are your must-haves vs. wants? Think about your lifestyle and needs. For example, if you have children or a large dog, finding a house with a big backyard may be high on your priority list, but is finding a house that doesn’t have crown molding in every room really going to be a deal-breaker? Do you love the idea of a fixer-upper, like the ones you’ve been seeing on tv in Waco, TX? Determine which home features you’re willing to compromise on.

 Get Prequalified*
It’s only natural to want to go online and start looking up houses that are for sale – but that’s not always the best idea. If you get your heart set on a certain home, imagine how disappointing it could be to later find out that it’s not within your budget. A better approach is to get prequalified before you even start shopping for a house. All that means is that you meet with a lender and provide information on your credit, income, assets and debts, and in return, you’ll get an estimate of the size of a loan you can afford. That way, you’ll save time by focusing solely on houses that are in your price range.

Avoid Making Any Big Purchases
During the homebuying process, it’s imperative that you hold off on making any big purchases – cars, furniture, appliances, etc. If you end up making a big purchase, the loan amount that you qualify for could end up dropping to a lower number. Additionally, don’t acquire any additional lines of credit.

Find a House You Love
The next step is the fun part: finding your dream home; an existing home, a new construction home, a fixer-upper? You can work with a real estate agent to help you with this step in the process. You’ll want to communicate your wish list and preferences to your agent. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your agent and lender are acquainted. They may need to communicate about the house you’re interested in, where you are in the loan process and homebuying deadlines.

Last year, PrimeLending helped get more than 60,000 borrowers into a home. We love being a part of this special moment in our borrowers’ lives. If you’re ready to become a homeowner or want to learn about your mortgage options, get in touch with Teri Tarvin, Branch Manager at PrimeLending today. Office: 254-230-9468, Email: ttarvin@primelending.com

*A prequalification is not an approval of credit, and does not signify that underwriting requirements have been met.