What Homebuyers Should Do – and Should NOT Do – When Buying a Home

Few first-time homebuyers are taught how to buy a home. Many people learn by trial and error, but those errors tend to be costly. Understanding the process, and what to do and not to do, when buying a home can save you time, money and headaches.

As you are searching for that perfect home, here are homebuying tips to help you navigate this new arena.

What Homeowners Should Do

  • Get pre-qualified for a mortgage: Getting pre-qualified means you’re serious, and doing it early on in your homebuying journey makes the process go much smoother. This crucial first step will set you up for success, and ensure you can make a timely offer on a home you love.
  • Know your credit score: Knowing your credit score will allow you to have a better idea of what interest rate and loan program you could tap into. Remember that your credit score is not static and can fluctuate. Additionally, if you discover that your credit score isn’t where you’d hope it would be, better to learn that up front and have time to work on it instead of when you’ve got your heart set on a certain home. .
  • Shop for a quality, community bank: With a local bank, you will have reliable, personalized service, while also drawing on local expertise. At Blackhawk, all of our Mortgage Planners live in the communities that they serve, which means you get access to a wealth of knowledge from someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of buying locally.
  • Get a home inspection: In today’s climate, it may be tempting to skip the home inspection to create a more competitive offer. However, a home inspection is a critical part of the home buying process, and could save you additional expenses down the road.
  • Find the Right Realtor: Working with the right realtor can make or break your homebuying experience. Not only is a realtor a great resource of information, but they will also be an advocate for your needs throughout the homebuying process.
  • Shop for Homeowners Insurance Early: Lenders will typically require that you prove insurance coverage prior to closing, but buyers should shop early for insurance to secure the best pricing. Lender’s want to know that their investment is well-protected, and this type of insurance is designed to protect both you and the property in the case of an accident or damage to the home.

What Homeowners Should Not Do

  • Change jobs: When we say no surprises, we mean absolutely no surprises, including a job change. A lender wants to ensure you have a stable income and employment to repay your mortgage, and accepting a position somewhere else can delay closing. If you know that a job change is on the horizon, notify your mortgage loan officer so that you can plan ahead.
  • Increase credit cards or make large purchases: While seemingly harmless, increasing your credit balances or making large purchases can lead to an increase in your minimum monthly debt payment. Doing either of these things can potentially delay your closing, as it can lower your verified bank balance.
  • Ignore essentials, while falling for luxuries: Distinguish between your essential needs for a home, such as a quality school, proximity to your workplace, nearby park, convenient access, and spacious kitchen, and your non-essential needs like a Jacuzzi tub, granite counter tops, or multiple fireplaces. If you focus solely on your essential needs, you’ll be happier with your purchase in the long term. At Blackhawk Bank, we understand that buying a home can be overwhelming, which is why we're here to help. Our team of experts can guide you through the home-buying process and help you find the perfect home that meets both your needs and wants. Contact us today to get started on your home-buying journey.

Tammy Zurfluh
SVP Mortgage Banking