Thursday, July 21, 2016

Step 1 of Buying a Home

My fiance and I have been talking about buying our first home together for awhile now, and I realized coming into this whole process, that buying a home was the first "adult activity" that I really felt I knew absolutely nothing about!

Now this was hard for me, because I have always prided myself on being quite knowledgeable, or at least simply catching on quickly to most other "adult" things that I've done.  Renting a house, going to college, getting a job, buying a car, moving across the county, getting engaged, paying bills and loans, understanding credit, creating a budget, ect.. no problem!  These things were a piece of cake.  Even having my first child has come so naturally that the overall stress level of "not knowing" has been kept at a minimum.

Buying a house, though, this is completely foreign.  We are just at the beginning of that journey, and I still know nothing about it, but I thought, hey, if I know nothing, chances are, many of my readers could be in a similar boat!  So I thought I'd share our journey with you all, hoping that it might give a tiny bit of insight to someone out there whose feeling similar to me!

This first post will summarize the conversations you should be having before you begin your process, and then lastly, it will outline what our first real step looked like with a loan officer.
I recommend that you start by simply talking about it!  Before we had our daughter, we used to take drives on Sundays around different neighborhoods and talk about what we liked or didn't like in a home.  At the time, it was just for fun, but now that we're actually considering buying, I'm super glad we've already had tons of those types of conversations!  So even if you're not considering buying yet, watch some HGTV, search, take some drives with your partner, and start finding some common ground.

You also should be having conversations about where you'd like to live.  It's hard to buy a home when you're unsure where you want to dig your feet in.  So, we've had many conversations about careers, our families, dreams, and preferences.  While we love where we are now, we've tried to balance all of these factors and have chosen a new location to move to when we buy.

This is where we hit our stand still, though.  I had no idea how to get the whole process rolling from there.  So, I started asking around, I talked to my mother, my sister, friends, and coworkers, until someone finally directed me in a way that made sense.  Most of everyone's advice was to go to bank and see what you get pre-approved for.  It really is solid advice, but I needed more.  I needed someone to tell me when I should start the process, who to contact, and what that contact would actually do for me.

Step 1

A coworker of mine finally said the things that "made sense."  She told me that my first step should be to contact a loan officer.  She told me to ask him about how much we could currently be pre-approved for, and then ask for pointers on getting approved for a mortgage.  Whether it be the specifics on cleaning up your credit or what debt you need to pay off, a loan officer will be able to give you advice on getting the mortgage you want.  She then gave me the contact information to a reputable loan officer, who she knew.

So, I contacted Dale Prisk, who is a loan officer with Pacific Union Financial.  He told me that much of your loan approval amount depends on what your monthly payments are.  I was nervous because I had just traded in my vehicle and my new loan is for $10,000 more than what I owed on my previous loan, but he assured me that, since my monthly payment only went up $20/month, it wouldn't have a super large effect on anything.

Next he told me that there are certain aspects of your credit that have a larger influence over loan approval than others.  For instance, some debts may be easier and more beneficial to pay off than others.
Dale had me fill out an online application form, which didn't take too long (I did it over my lunch break).  He is going to evaluate our credit, debt, and income, and then will get back to us with pointers on what we should be doing to clean up our credit or which debts to pay off in order to help us get approved for our loan.  Just so you know, this does require a hard credit pull, which will ding your credit slightly, but Dale said that between today and the time of actual purchase, the small credit ding will not end up being an issue.  Keep in mind that we are about 6 to 10 months out from the time when we'd like to purchase a home.

So that's where we're currently at.  It's only the first baby step, but I am totally relieved to finally feel as though I got my first bit of usable information on how to start the whole process.

I asked Dale if I could share his professional contact information in my blog for my readers who find themselves in a similar situation as us, and he said yes, so feel free to shoot him an email or give him a call.  His contact information is at the bottom of this post.

My main concern was actually that by starting the process, I would find myself stuck in it; however, that's not true, this first step is completely non-committal, and understanding your finances is beneficial even if you don't end up buying.

If you are considering buying a home within the next 6 months to a year, I highly recommend contacting a loan officer now; that way you have plenty of time to clean up credit or pay off debt if need be.

I'll be blogging about our entire process of buying a home, step by step.  If you want to be sure you don't miss any of those major steps, make sure you subscribe to my blog.

Also, if you have any questions or want clarification on anything, just comment and ask, I'm more than happy to be completely open about our process and finances.  Also, I have great tips on budgeting, so if you need help there, please reach out to me!

Dale Prisk | NMLS#1265947Loan Officer

Pacific Union Financial, LLC
100 N Main Street

Fort Atkinson WI 53538
920-397-3165 (Office)
414-721-1070 (Cell) (Email)

Live with what you love.

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