I want to buy a home. Where do I start?

When we reach the point in life that we start thinking about buying a home, most people understand that they need to have some kind of down payment and that they need to have an idea of how much they can afford for their monthly mortgage. While that sounds pretty simple, and it kind of is. It also kind of isn’t.

The thing is there are a couple of other things to consider before you begin your home search. We will get into those also, but beginning with the financial parts of buying a home are the best place to start.

Just like with anything else you need to start at the beginning. Find out where you are at credit wise. The easiest free way to do that is to sign up with one of the free credit monitoring services. I usually recommend using Credit Karma and Credit Sesame both. The reason I suggest both is that they pull your credit report at different times and weigh the credit reporting agencies differently and you will get multiple viewpoints on how to go about repairing your credit if there are problems.

If you are in the market to buy a home your minimum goal for a credit score is 585. There are some options for lower scores, but they involve much higher down payments and interest rates. That is the minimum though. Obviously, the higher your score the better your opportunities.

Once you have a score that you think you can work with it is time to get pre-approved for a loan. Way too many people go into the home buying process without doing this, and it results in them getting disappointed and wasting a lot of their time. Issues from not being able to get financed for the dream home they spent three months looking for, to a seller not accepting their offer (due to a lack of pre-approval) and then accepting a competing offer while the would be buyer was getting the pre-approval letter they should have had to begin with.

At any rate, you can get a pre-approval letter from and mortgage company or bank which services home loans. I suggest starting with the bank that handles your other accounts just for simplicity. You can finance with whoever you want later, but should realize whoever does your pre-approval will vie for your business.

So now you have gone out and gotten pre-approved. The next step is to find an agent to help you with your home purchase.

Wait, what’s that?

Yes of course you can always go out and search for homes on your own, and just make offers to the sellers agent. But you shouldn’t…and here are three reasons why.

  1. The buyer doesn’t pay their representative, the seller pays both. So ITS FREE to you.
  2. Time is money. Chances are with the modern lifestyle, you already don’t have a ton of free time. Do you want to spend a hundred or so hours trying to find a house, trying to get ahold of agents who don’t call back, driving all over at sporadic intervals to see homes and then try to navigate the purchase agreement without a representative… especially when one is available to you for FREE? Of course you don’t.
  3. Even as important as the first two answers are, the third is twice as important as them combined. Agency. When you approach the sellers agent, he represents the seller. You are a customer, not a client. While he is required to be honest and fair to you by law, he is more so bound to protect the sellers interests, not yours. A buyers agent on the other hand, levels that part of the playing field and is legally bound to protect your interests in the purchase from beginning to end. I am sure you can see the difference in those two arrangements and how it benefits you to have a buyers agent.

So you have decided to get a buyers agent. Where do you look? Easy, my number and email are on the top right of this web page.

Just kidding, no really just hire me and know that you did the right thing.

If you don’t like my beard you can always call one of the other great agents on The Giles Team at Your Realty Link…that number is just below mine.

If you really don’t want the best agents available in the Indianapolis area, but will be willing to work with someone else, I would recommend asking a trusted friend or family member to refer someone. Everyone knows an agent anymore.

From this point any agent worth their salt is going to smoothly walk you through the search and buying process. If you want to know what you should expect of a great agent, check out my article A Value Statement.

I hope this helps you get started on the right foot with your home search. Have a great day!

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About Robb

A husband, Dad to 5, and Grandpa to 9. US Navy Vet. 18 Year Postal Employee turned full time Realtor. I enjoy a wide variety of things, but you will find that here I mostly write about Indianapolis, government/politics, recent news, and whatever book I am reading or have just finished at the moment.
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