Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate investor, buying a home is an exciting process. However, there’s also a lot to consider when you decide to buy. So before you begin your search for the perfect property, here are four questions you should ask yourself.

What do I want?
Take the time to figure out what type of property you want to buy. From single-family homes to condos, there are many different options on the market and it’s important to choose the type that best fits your needs. Figuring out the town or neighborhood you want to live in is equally important. While a property might have all of the amenities you’re looking for, a good idea is to list out and prioritize your needs (e.g. large backyard, great school system) before you begin your search.

What can I afford?
The typical rule of thumb is that you should never spend more than 30% of your monthly income on a mortgage payment. An alternate rule states that you can afford to buy a property that runs about two-and-a-half times your annual salary. To really understand what you can afford to purchase, speak to a lender and get pre-approved for a loan.  This way you will know what your monthly payments will be and what price range you should be looking at.

Am I financially prepared?
A few months before you start searching for a home, review your credit history and make sure it is in good standing. Get copies of your credit report, ensure that it’s accurate, and fix any issues you discover. That way when you are ready to get pre-approved for a home loan, there should not be any surprises. Pre-approval from a lender is based on your credit history, debt, and income.

How do I know what to offer?
Work with a REALTOR® that knows the area.  Your agent will gather and share statistics with you on the recent sales and trends of similar homes. Working together you can formulate a strategy that will help you purchase the home of your dreams!