Do you plan on buying a home in the peach state shortly? Where and when do you begin? How soon should you begin exploring mortgages? How soon is too soon to begin looking at properties in Atlanta or Augusta? Use this timeline to stay on track while you move from interested home buyer to homeowner.
Preparing for a Home Purchase – One Year Before
So you hope to be a homeowner one year from today. While applying for a mortgage or viewing homes for sale may be too soon, getting your credit or finances in order is not too early. This is an excellent time to pull a copy of your credit score from all three reporting agencies. Make a note of and report any discrepancies. Look for any areas of improvement. Try to pay down some of your debt, and in the meantime, avoid taking out new debt. This includes car loans or new credit cards, which can affect your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. This is also a great time to begin saving. You’ll need a down payment, and the more you have, the less you have to finance.
Preparing To Buy a Home – Six Months Before
You’re getting closer to making big moves toward buying a home. By now, you should have made some progress on your credit score. You should also be growing your savings account. Consider ramping up both efforts as you get closer to your intended timeline. Pay down debt if possible and budget more of your income toward your savings.
Getting Ready To Buy – Three Months Before
Just a few months until you plan to buy, now is the time to begin shopping lenders and loan types. Many first-time homeowners choose an FHA or conventional mortgage, but other options are also available. For example, you might qualify for a VA loan if you previously served, which requires no down payment. Selecting a few lenders you want to apply with can help you prepare for the application process. Now is also a good time to get your documents together, including your income statements and bank records.
Remember that the documents you need for a mortgage may vary depending on your loan type. This is also a good time to narrow your options and review FHA, conventional, and real estate investment loans.
You should also find a realtor during this time. Let them know your buying timeline and begin watching the local market. Narrow down your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” in a home.
Prepping To Buy a Home – Two Months Before
Begin applying for mortgages and talking with lenders. Keep your applications within the same 45 days to avoid multiple hits to your credit. You’re allowed to price shop, meaning applying for the same loan over a specific time is okay. Otherwise, waiting too long between applications can lower your credit score.
Once you receive a preapproval from your lender, schedule a few showings with your realtor. Take note of the properties you like and dislike, and adjust your needs in a property based on these. Make an offer when you find a home that meets your needs. If accepted, this is also when you’ll complete the appraisal and inspection. This is also when you’ll negotiate any repairs with the seller.
Buying a Home – One Month Before
The month before your loan closes usually includes an in-depth underwriting process. Your lender may request more information from you and the seller. You should usually expect 30-90 days to close mortgages in Georgia. If finding a home you want to buy takes longer than expected; you should expect the buying timeline to be longer than a year.
One Week Before Closing
One week before closing, you should expect most of the paperwork to be completed and the lender to have given you a closing date. The closing date is when you, your realtor, the seller, and the seller’s realtor will meet with the lender to go over the paperwork. Usually, the night before or the day before closing, you and your realtor will complete a final walk-through of the property. This is your last chance to ensure the seller has made all repairs and that you’re satisfied with your purchase property.
Closing day is finally here, congratulations. On this day, you’ll sign a lot of paperwork and collect the keys to your new home. Checks will be issued to the seller and real estate agents. The title will be transferred to your name. Your loan will officially begin.
Buying a home is not only an expensive purchase but also a timely one. Sufficient planning and research can help make the process easier and more convenient.