The American dream doesn’t just happen overnight so you have to be prepared. If you’re considering buying a house in 2020, here are the things you should do now:
Talk to a Lender
Find out among the many loan programs or mortgage lenders what you can qualify for, what kind of program best suits you, and also how the loan process works. Ask us or a local real estate pro to recommend a lender or two. Not all lenders are created equal.
Restore your credit
Good for you if you’re not gonna need to do this step anymore. If you need to clean up your credit score though, take your time. It might not be too long but it will give you the possibility of buying more or getting a better interest rate.
Start saving for a downpayment
Now, you can actually buy a house with zero money down and get the seller to pay for your closing costs: the cost of escrow, title, etc. Some, however, may need to save; talk to your lender to find out how much you need. Believe it or not, there are available options for 3.5%, 5%, and even 0% down!
When you speak with the lender, then you can figure out, do I need to save money? How much? And you can make a plan for doing that. If you’re having trouble saving money, we highly recommend you read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
Select a neighborhood
Research the neighborhood that you want to move in and see what’s available within your price range. Say, you’re in San Diego County, going coastal often comes with a price. So once you know how much you want, if you really want to go coastal, that might limit you. You may not be able to get a six-bedroom house on the coast, but you may be able to get a bigger home inland, depending on your neighborhood. Your budget and the conversation with the lender is going to dictate how much you can spend.
Figure out what you can live without
You really need to assess what you can’t live without – Maybe you can’t live without space in the kitchen or you like having your own sink, having a little bit of privacy, having a big closet and so on. Take a deep look at your lifestyle and decide which features can be comprised or cannot.
Talk with an agent.
You might go on Zillow first or online and search for properties. Many of them may look like your next home already in photos, then showing comes, you’re surprised with some structural problem, or whatnot — that’s why they’ve been on the market or that’s why they’ve been at this great price. Real estate agents investigate which homes are available for sale, which ones are a good deal, and which ones you can actually get into and purchase. Plus, you can talk with an agent and even get a referral to some good mortgage lenders.
Do these and you are sure to tick buying a property off your list by the end of 2020.