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4 Smart steps to take before buying a home


1-CONSIDER WHERE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Don't buy a home for the sake of home ownership. Explore your options such as quality of life: the city's demographics, public transportation, and social scene (if you are single etc...)

2- DETERMINE HOW MUCH HOME YOU CAN BUY. Once you've decided where you want to live, use a REALTOR who can point you to a reputable lender for financing as well as what houses fit your financial needs. A professional REALTOR will also advice you on properties that will fit into your budget and your particular "must haves" such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen size, front and back yards, school districts and the neighborhood you may be looking to buy in.

3-BOOST YOUR CREDIT. Your credit score plays an important role in qualifying for a mortgage. A score of 740 or above will help you secure the best interest rates. Manage your spending habits and pay rotating credit cards on time. Here are the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374. 1-800-685-1111. Experian P.O. Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013. 1-888-397-3742. Transunion P.O. Box 1000 Chester, PA 19022. 1-800-916-8800.

4- START SAVING FOR A DOWN PAYMENT. In addition to building your stellar credit, you should also save enough for a down payment of at least 20% of the home price to snag the best mortgage terms. That amount will save you from having to pay for private mortgage insurance, (PMI) which protects the lender if you default on the loan. You may want to get a second opinion from a lender such as a credit union or a direct lender, apart from the lender you already have in mind.



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