February 28, 2013
Your Preparation and Planning for Buying a Home Needs to Start Well in Advance of Your Viewing of Homes (Chicago Tribune)
By Gene Mundt

One of the biggest mistakes I see potential Home Buyers make occurs right at the very beginning of their home buying transaction. Time and time again, I see this same mistake being made. What is it?

They wait too long to have their credit and credit scores checked by a Mortgage Lender ...

And why do they wait too long? Because:

They assume they know their scores and credit standing
They do not understand, should they have credit issues, just how long it can take to clear errors or improve their scores
Their decision to purchase a home has been done spur-of-the-moment, with little preparation or forethought
They have their head in the sand

Assuming you know your scores can prove very dangerous. I've seen this happen often, especially with young buyers. Even more often, when those young buyers are un-married, but hoping to buy with a partner. Too often, one partner is not fully aware of the other's finances and credit habits.

Not allowing themselves enough time to ... A: have that discussion regarding spending and savings habits, and B: react to it and then possibly repair scores, can sink home buying dreams fast. (JMO ... but that's definitely a conversation that needs to take place too.)

Should you be dreaming of buying a home, credit and credit scores should be run at minimum ... a year out from when you'd like to purchase. That allows ample time for you and your Mortgage Lender to address errors or problems that might exist on your credit report.

It also allows you time to improve marginal scores. And marginal scores can mean you have good/decent scores already. Understand though, even small improvements can translate into real savings of dollars, both during the initial financing and closing on your home and over the life of the loan as well.

I'm not sure if my third reason above is the most dangerous, but I urge you to approach buying your new home with care and preparation. Viewing homes on a whim or without financial guidance and input from a Mortgage Lender carries real potential for problems. Both regarding what homes you choose to view ... and for you monetarily.

Gail Robinson, a Realtor with William Raveis Real Estate, Southport, CT, wrote a wonderful post regarding this very issue last week. In her post, she described the emotional upheaval her clients were suffering after viewing a home outside their price range. In this couple's case, they had been pre-approved. But they disregarded their Mortgage Lender's Pre-Approval and their own pre-determined financial decisions ... and went to view the home anyway. Their decision to do so proved disastrous in many ways.

Having no plan and conducting no preparation prior to viewing and purchasing a home is an even worse decision. Transacting a mortgage takes longer than it used to. Throw possible credit issues (or a host of others) into the mix and Contract Dates ... Closing Dates ... your entire transaction could be placed in jeopardy.

This scenario also points out WHY it's so very important to work with reliable experienced professionals. Issues of this nature do not rise as often when you do. And you'll protect yourself from the heartbreak Gails clients suffered.

Experienced professionals see to the details of your transaction from beginning to end. From initial conversation about home buying, through credit inquiries and Mortgage Pre-Approval, through viewing of homes, to signed Contract, and Closing. They see to your needs. They protect you. They refer other reliable experienced professionals throughout your transaction. As a result, you are better prepared and educated ... and navigate your home buying transaction more quickly and smoothly, with far less stress.

Lack of preparation and poor planning dooms more home buying transactions than anything else. Your preparation and planning for buying a home needs to start well in advance of your actual viewing of homes. Give yourself time to approach, educate yourself, and conduct your home buying in the best possible ways. It will save you time. It will save you heartaches and stress. It will save you money.

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