Idaho’s housing market is wild. Homes are bought in minutes, sometimes with crazy results. Buying a new home is no longer a slow process, but an incredibly quick one, especially if you are buying a home for the first time. You can’t just slowly dip your toes in the housing market and hope to walk away with a home. You need to get ready ahead of time before you start shopping. Here’s what you need to have done!
Have a Good Credit Score
It’s very important to have a good credit score in order to buy a home. It will impact what kind of home you can buy, what your interest and monthly payments will look like, and even if you can buy a home at all.
First, you need to know your credit score and get a copy of your credit report. If your credit is low, this can negatively impact you buying a home. For most loans, you need at least a 620 credit score, but ideally should be in the 740s.
If your credit isn’t ready, you should hold off on buying a home. A poor credit score can mean a poor mortgage that might be too much to handle. Instead, focus your efforts on building your credit. You can do this with Pioneer Credit Builder Loan or by opening a Pioneer VISA credit card.
Save Up for a Down Payment and Fees
While not essential for some mortgage loans, it’s smart to have some money saved for the initial purchase of the home. There are some loans that don’t require a down payment, but you should be prepared for different fees and, if you can do so, a down payment.
Don’t drain your savings completely when buying a home. You should definitely keep a healthy amount of savings in case something does go wrong, such as losing a job or needing to make an essential repair. Set aside a specific amount that will go towards the house and keep some money tucked away for your security.
Get Pre-Approved by a Lender
Before you start home shopping and falling in love with a house, get pre-approved for a mortgage first. This will give you an idea of the range of homes you can even look at and what your monthly payments will likely be.
The pre-approval step is really important before you start talking with a realtor. You can tell them right away what range of home you can afford so you aren’t wasting your time looking at places you won't be able to buy.
Looking to get pre-approved? Contact Pioneer’s mortgage team to get started! They can guide you on everything you need for pre-approval.
Find the Right Realtor
There are a lot of realtors out there, and you need to find the right one. Don’t just go with somebody because they are your friend, or your mother’s friend, or even your mother. You need to find somebody who is ready to go to work for you.
Especially in Idaho, the housing market is quick and you need to be ready to look at homes the day they go on the market. In high demand areas like Boise and Meridian, homes are getting multiple offers the day they hit the market. You need a realtor who is constantly watching the market for you constantly and sending you potential homes to tour. They need to be aggressive and smart about how to get you a home you can afford and love.
If you start working with a realtor and feel like they are not up to your expectations, don’t be afraid to get a new one. Until you put an offer on a home and get approved, you can switch your realtor at any time.
Have Time Set Aside for House Hunting
You will need to take time out of your schedule to look at houses and do quite a bit of work on your end. You could spend your weekends looking at homes, but you are likely missing out on multiple homes keeping your schedule to just two days a week. You should try to adapt your schedule to see multiple homes at different times during the week. This could include weekends, evenings, lunch breaks, or even taking a day off here and there.
Let your realtor know your schedule for looking at homes and plan out times or days to go looking. Find homes you want to look at and spend time visiting them. There might be open houses to visit, new builds to look at, and homes recently put on the market you can schedule to go see. Do it all as effectively and often as possible.
Educate Yourself on Home Buying and Owning
Before you start touring, take some time to educate yourself about the home buying process and costs of owning a home. You need to be fully prepared for anything that can come your way. If it’s your first time owning a home, there may be expenses you weren’t expecting.
There are fees and costs that come with closing on a home you need to prepare for, and that’s just the start of it. Depending on your loan, you might have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance along iwth regular home insurance too! Plus, there are the expenses that come with home ownership, like HOA fees, home maintenance, and buying the tools needed to care for a home like a lawn mower and tools to fix things up.
If you want to learn more about home ownership and the home buying process, check out our education center all about home buying! It’s filled with information that could save you money and headaches that come with buying a home.
Check Out our Education Center