Four Tips All Homebuyers Should Follow

The homebuying season is in full swing here in Rutland.

Below are four tips to help you make the best homeownership choice in 2017: strengthen your credit, shop wisely for a mortgage, choose the right house, and negotiate the best price.

1. Strengthen your credit score before looking for a mortgage.

The majority of people don’t know their credit score until they begin to look for a home or a mortgage. Since finding the right house takes an average of one to three months, it could pay off to use the time to strengthen your credit score, especially if it means getting a lower mortgage rate. The benefit varies from lender to lender, but a strong credit score can cut as much as half a percent from your rate.

Our housing counselor can provide you guidance on what to do to boost your credit score while shopping for a home. Sign up for a Homebuyer Education today to gain access to free one-on-one counseling.

2. Shop around for the best mortgage for you.

Not every lender offers the same mortgage rate, so shopping around is essential. Yet, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, nearly half of people who apply for a mortgage don’t shop around. The price of failing to do so can be quite significant after several years.

In Rutland, different lenders offer different mortgage products. For example, NBT Bank offers a “Home in the City” program for homes within Rutland City that allows eligible homebuyers to borrow up to 95% of the purchase price of the home without paying Private Mortgage Insurance. It’s worthwhile to visit several lenders to get an idea of what products might be the best choice for YOU.

As important as it is to obtain the best mortgage rate, it’s also crucial to be aware of fees charged by mortgage lenders. These fees go by various names—another reason to work closely with our housing counselor throughout the process.

Read our 6 steps to getting the best mortgage for you here.

3. Choose your house carefully.

With a mortgage-approval letter in hand, it’s time to find your home. Working with a buyers agent like RealtyWorks Realtors can help you find a dream house that is affordable for you.

Make sure you know the dos-and-don’ts of working with a Realtor by signing up for a Homebuyer Education Course. There, you’ll hear first hand from a Realtor whether you should tell them how much you are pre-approved for and how to make an offer.

4. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.

If real estate is location, location, location, then homebuying is negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Because the Rutland market still has plenty of houses, there is plenty of room for negotiation. Here’s where selecting the right real estate agent pays off.

Whether it’s the price of the house—probably the most important item to negotiate—the portion of closing costs to be paid or whether a warranty for major appliances is included, presenting the seller with a list of requests is important.

Remember, the seller wants to sell and you want to buy. Home purchases that are mutually beneficial are made in the middle.

Following these tips and working with the team at NeighborWorks of Western Vermont will help you successfully find your dream home.