Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 19, 2016

Preparing to buy in 2016

Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

Terry Greene

In a few short months, when the Chattanooga winter gives way to a warmer spring, the homebuying market will be heating up, too.

Savvy buyers are already preparing to find that perfect home, locking in low interest rates and doing their homework in advance. If you’re planning to buy in 2016 and don’t know where to begin, these tips will help jumpstart your search.

Make your checklist: Take some time to determine what you need in a home, especially regarding size, location, and amenities. A listing might look lovely in photos, but if you have a large family, that charming two bedroom bungalow just won’t do. Do you need a yard for Fido? How far is too far to drive to work? Where will your kids go to school? Write down all of these lifestyle preferences now so you’re not distracted by other amenities later.

Check your credit score: Even if you’ve purchased a home in the past, stricter credit requirements are making it more challenging for some buyers to find home loans. Lenders are more cautious than ever, so having a favorable credit score can make a difference in your approval for a loan. Even if you think nothing has changed recently on your credit report, it’s good to check periodically to ensure you aren’t being unfairly penalized for old debts, which can sometimes linger on credit reports.

Determine what you can afford: Don’t let the amount of your maximum loan approval dictate your home-buying budget. Lenders want to loan you as much money as possible under their guidelines, but you are the best person to judge what you can realistically afford. As a general rule, your total monthly home expenses should not exceed more than one-third of your gross monthly income.

Sell your current home: If buying a new home is contingent on the sale of your current house, it’s a good idea to start the process by consulting with your Realtor now. Nearly every home going back on the market has at least minor maintenance issues. Your Realtor can help you identify which ones need to be addressed in order to sell your home quickly and for the best price.

For more information about the home buying process, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at (423) 624-9992 or info@hbagc.net   v