Profile picture for ajs_83

When is the best time to start the home buying process?

Lease expires April 2015. When do I start the home buying process so I can be moved into my home by the end of April 2015?
  • January 20 - Towson
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Answers (15)

Profile picture for RealtorinVAMDDC
You can start the loan process without having a property to buy... 

 If you're up front with the loan officer, they will likely go through a fairly decent approval process in order to help you answer a few questions. They will be able to tell you what you qualify for today, to help determine how much house you want to buy.

They can tell you how you qualify compared to other borrowers, which can let you know if you need to get to work on your credit, or if you're golden as you set! 

Of course rates will change by the time you buy, but this will at least give you the information you need in order to prepare.
  • June 07
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Profile picture for D will127
I also agree with most people's replies here. I would start now, nothing like being a little proactive, at least that is my view on it. I don't like having to rush and scramble to get something done, that's when mistakes are made. I would figure out your credit score and continue to try and build it, but more importantly I would definitely get in contact with a lender and figure out if your pre-approved and the rest of your financial situation. That way you have an idea of what you can look for and what you can expect come next year.
  • April 29
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Profile picture for TimMcIntyre
I also agree that the first step is to work with a lender now.  Knowing that your credit score is 710 is a great start, but a lender can help you identify which program might be the best for you.  You may be able to save additional money between now and next April, and a lender will have great insight as to how to use that money.  As an example, you might be able to take some of your down payment money to pay off a debt, which might allow you to have more purchasing power.  We recently had a Buyer who was able to take $5,000 of her down payment money to pay off a car loan, which then allowed her to increase her home search parameters by $25,000.  This Buyer had not been able to find anything under $300,000, but she found her dream home for $325,000.  Her mortgage only went up a couple hundred dollars, her car was paid off, she was still able to stay in the same loan program, but the lender went the extra mile to help her afford dream home.  It's not always about a credit score, it's about a lender that can help you use all of your resources to your best advantage.  So the best time to work with a lender is now.

In my opinion, to close sometime in March or April, you should contact a Realtor after the first of the year.  Best of luck!
  • April 29
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I find that most people find a home in a relatively short period of time.  3.5% is good for  the FHA loan and 5% is good for a conventional loan.  Your first time home buyer classes are offered throughout Maryland and are good for 6 months from the time you take the class.  As a first time home buyer you will qualify for  a $5,000 0% interest loan and there are many other grants available depending on where you are looking to live and who you work for.
Generally speaking you have to contribute 1% of your own money for the downpayment and can be gifted the rest for the FHA loans.

I would be happy to review your situation and let you know what is the best way to go.
  • January 31
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Profile picture for SteadyState
The best time to start the home buying process is when everyone is selling or trying to sell their homes. In the San Francisco Bay Area this should start occurring around August 2014.
  • January 22
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I usually always tell people to start talking to lenders as soon as you can, but usually these people aren't as far out as you are. Either way, I still would recommend that you speak with a lender about your finances now. A lender will be able to give you a quick look at your finances and tell you what you need to fix before you start buying a home. Since financial problems can take a long time to fix, it would be wise to speak with a lender early. So when the time comes there shouldn't be any financial problems in your way. As of now I suggest you start saving up money and building up your credit. The best thing for you to do is to speak with a lender such as myself to see if you can get started on some helpful advice. If you have any further questions or if you would like a loan, feel free to contact me.

Good Luck!
  • January 22
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Normally, it would take about 45 days to finish the whole home buying process. This is from the time you make an offer until closing. I'd suggest that you start pre-qualifying yourself first by talking to a loan officer so he could see your current finances and if you're eligible for a loan. It is very important that you get a pre-approval letter. Once pre-approved, you would need to look for a realtor that can help you find the right property. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me a [deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
  • January 21
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After lunch. . . .
  • January 21
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Profile picture for ajs_83
Thank you all very much for your input and reply to my inquiry. My credit score is above 710 and I will have enough for a minimum down payment (3.5% - 5%). Based on the information that each of you provided, I will need look into some lenders between now and August. I'm assuming to look for an Realtor around September or October. Then actively start looking for a home around late November. 

Although I understand that there is no guarantee that I will be able to find my first home in 3-4 months. I'm trying to match my move date with the expiration of my lease. However, I realize that if I find a home and the possibility of me closing prior to April. I will have to buy out my lease and pay 2 months rent. 

What about if my family gifts me some of the down payment or towards my closing costs? What is the typical percentage in Maryland for closing cost? Is it common for the seller (if requested) to pay for closing costs or just partially?  Where can I obtain a first time home buyer certificate? 

  • January 21
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
It depends on where you are starting from?    Do you have great savings?     How are your credit scores?   Debts?   Income?    Zillow has compiled a buyer's roadmap that can be very helpful for starting from the beginning.
  • January 21
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Hi ajs_83!

Your first step should be to talk to a lending professional to find out if there is anything you need to do to work toward buying your home in 2015.

That way you can discover how much you may be able to afford (and the amount you may be comfortable with payments.) Also, if there are any discrepancies in your credit report, you can start working on those right away. Plus, if you need to or may want to save money for a downpayment, you can start a plan to get that going.

If you'd like a recommendation for a lender, please contact me directly. I have a few who have different programs that may work for you, and they can help to guide you through the process!

Thank you so much!

Sincerely,
Marney Kirk

Keller Williams Excellence Realty
  • January 21
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Depending on your local market, it should take about 45-60 days from the time you make an offer on a home until it actually closes and you move in. However, you should start the process of finding out what your credit looks like within the next few months from now. If there are issues with your credit, you will have plenty of time to get them corrected prior to needing to get your home loan. You should visit with a lender soon.

  • January 20
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Profile picture for SherriDehahn

The best time to start your home buying process is after you "do your homework"!  Find a local lender who will qualify and let you know what you can afford. You will have to provide them 2 years of tax returns and 2 most resent pay stubs.  They will want know all your long term debt; credit cards, car or student loans etc. and compare that to your income to determine your  income to debt ratio.  Then they will do a credit report to see your credit history and to determine your credit score.  NOTE:  Every time you have someone check your credit, will take your credit score down!  Be wise by not opening any new credit card or other loans while you are considering to purchase a home! This will affect your credit score and you may not be able to get a loan.  The lender will evaluate all this information and let you know what type of loan you qualify that best suits your needs.  Your credit score determines your interest rate, the better the score the lower the rate.   If your score is not so good the lender will make suggestions for you to improve you're your score to be in a better position to purchase a home.  When you are ready to purchase a home your lender will provide a pre-approval letter.  This is when you look for a Realtor to represent you as a "Buyer's Agent" who will work for your best interest.  This letter will show the Seller that you are a serious Buyer and not just looking.   This gives you more power to negotiate the best price on a home that you desire and can afford.  I can provide excellent referrals from great lenders in Northern WI, for homes or land if you need one. [deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy or posting guidelines]

All my best,

Sherri  

  • January 20
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Profile picture for Maynard Gottlieb
I would start today with you pulling up your annual free credit report.  You can search google to find it and you can order all 3 agencies for free.  This way you can review your current credit report a year before you are buying to make sure there is nothing on the report that could become an issue.

Speak to a lender and get pre-approved now so you know as long as your situation does not worsen you should still be able to get the same amount approved next year.  If the mortgage payment you are seeking is going to be greater than your current rent start saving the difference each month.  This way you will get to try out how the payment would be while you are saving additional funds for down payment and closing.

Get your 1st time home buyer certificate.  You can use the certificate for 1 year so you can take the class later this year and still use it next year to purchase.  This will allow you to use any number of programs through the State of Maryland 1st time home buyer programs.

Do all of this now and you will know your home buying experience will be less stressful and you will have a more positive experience.
  • January 20
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Profile picture for user365910
I've been told start looking 90 days before you want to close. It gives you time to go through the process of looking and gives a bit of time cushion incase a problem arises. Then again I've heard of people finding a home and closing in 2 weeks.
  • January 20
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