There can be several months or even several years between the time you decide you'd like to buy a home and the time when you actually have the money on hand for that downpayment, making buying a real possibility. While these months or years can feel like a state of limbo, you should not waste them away in anticipation. There are several things you can do at this time to ensure that when you do have the money to buy a home, you're fully prepared.
Start looking for a realtor.
There are great realtors, good realtors, and realtors who leave something to be desired. When it comes time to buy a home, having a great realtor on your side can simplify the process greatly and also save you a lot of money. Take this time to talk to family members and friends who have recently bought homes. Ask who they used as a realtor, and whether or not they'd recommend that person. You can also read online reviews to get an idea of who has the best reputation in your area. Try to make a short-list of three or four people. When you get closer to actually buying a home, you can interview those three or four people and pick the best one to represent you.
Narrow down what you want.
If you know exactly what you're looking for in a home by the time you start seriously shopping, you'll waste a lot less time viewing homes that don't fit the bill. So in the meantime, consider dedicating an hour every Saturday to browsing different home options and narrowing down exactly what you want. Start by deciding on the basics:
Number of bedrooms
Minimum and maximum square footage
One story or two?
Attached or detached garage?
Finished or unfinished basement?
Updated kitchen, or is a little outdated okay?
Once you have the basics nailed down, you can get into more specifics like your preferred exterior material and whether or not you need a laundry chute. Having this list ready to hand to your realtor when you're prepared to officially start house-hunting will save you so much time.
Look for lenders.
You don't want to actually apply for a loan until you have a downpayment prepared and are ready to start shopping. However, you can start looking at the various lenders in your area and making a list of places to apply for a mortgage. Make sure your list contains both big banks and smaller credit unions. Which type of lender offers you the best rate will really depend on your credit score, the neighborhood you're in, and your income so it's worth applying through a few of each.
Welcome to my website. My name is Larry Silva, and I want to talk a bit about private mortgage insurance. You may have heard the term PMI mentioned when you were in the process of purchasing real estate. When I first heard my lender talking about PMI, I was very confused. It was my realtor who sat me down and explained what private mortgage insurance was and when someone is required to purchase it. He told me that PMI is not lifelong insurance; it can be cancelled when the mortgage principal balance reaches a certain point. Once it was explained to me, private mortgage insurance was no longer a mystery or a confusing concept. I would like to pass on what I learned and hope that you find it to be of value.