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Tips for Buying a Home

Tips for Buying Your First Home

Read time 3 minutes

For most people, buying a home will be the single biggest purchase they make. For a first-time homebuyer, the process can be confusing or intimidating. However, there are things first-time homebuyers can do before they start looking for their dream home that can provide confidence and ensure a smooth process and the big purchase.

If you’ve made the decision to purchase a home for the first time, congrats! By doing these simple things to prepare—before you even start to look for your home—you will have a much easier experience.

Tip #1: Check your credit report

Finding an inaccuracy on your credit report is one of the worst things that can happen at the last minute during the loan review. Access your credit report first, and check it for accuracy. You are eligible for a free credit report every year from the three credit bureaus. You can access it at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Are all the accounts current/accurate? If there are any issues, your Affinity loan officer can help guide you in resolving them before you start the loan application. Going into the loan application knowing your credit history is accurate and you’re taking the correct steps to resolve any issues will help expedite the process for a smoother transaction.

Tip #2: Attend a First-time Homebuyer Class

Even if you think you know enough about the home-buying process to get started for the first time, it’s a good idea to attend a class anyway. The Hometown Home Loan Program and Inside Edge Program both include classes for first-time homebuyers. These five-hour classes are held monthly in most HomeStreet Affinity Lending locations and provide information about the home-buying process, from getting prequalified to signing your closing paperwork. Any Affinity loan officer can help get you signed up for a class.

Tips for Buying a Home

Tip #3: Talk to your family and friends for referrals

There are two important relationships you’ll need to have when buying a home: a lender and a real estate agent. With HomeStreet Bank, finding a lender is covered. You can also use a participating Affinity realtor. These participating realtors offer up to a one percent contribution toward your closing costs. The right real estate agent—one that you trust and with whom you enjoy working—is the other important person in the process. Talk to your family and friends to find out whom they used and whether they had a good experience with their agent. When you meet with a real estate agent for the first time, make sure they understand what type of house you’re looking for, and interview them for the job. Starting off the process with the right agent will save you time later, so you don’t have to switch agents during your search.

Tip #4: Have all your documents ready

For the loan application, it is recommend that you have the following documents ready before starting the loan process to save you a lot of time. It’s what we call the “2-2-2 Rule,” meaning you will want to have two most recent pay stubs, the last two years of tax returns including attachments like W-2s, and two months of all the pages from your financial statements from your banking and investment accounts.

If your credit is clean, you’ve attended a first-time homebuyers’ class, you’ve found an agent you like, and you have all your documents for the loan application ready, you are now in a good position to begin looking for your dream home.

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