New year, new you, new house. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime. The best way to start the home buying process is to make an appointment with a loan officer. Your loan officer will be able to determine if you’re ready to purchase your dream home, or if you need to make a few tweaks before the dream becomes a reality. Follow these five home buying resolutions to pave the way to homeownership by the end of 2016.

Get Pre-Approved
Before anything else, schedule a consultation with a loan officer. Your loan officer will assess your finances – income, assets and credit – to determine if you’re ready to purchase your dream home, or if you need to make a few adjustments before the dream becomes a reality. Arrive prepared and bring your pay stubs, tax records and asset statements when you meet your loan officer. If your finances are in order and you have the correct paperwork in hand, you could potentially leave the meeting with a pre-approval letter in hand.

File Your Taxes
In the spirit of tax season, file your taxes in a timely matter. Filing your taxes during the month of February will make life, mortgage-wise, much easier. You could potentially face delays and deals falling apart if you wait until the beginning of April to do your taxes. If you are self-employed, getting your taxes done as soon as possible is vital to the mortgage process. A 2-year income average is used for self-employed individuals to get a mortgage, and the most recent filings could make a huge difference in how much money the bank will give you.

Start a Savings Account
This resolution may seem glaringly obvious, but have you considered the potential costs that can occur before you move into your dream home? Possible upfront costs may include loan origination fees, home inspections, appraisals and more. The amount of money you’ll need to save for a down payment varies. Some loans only need one percent of the purchase price, while others require 20 percent down and more. Your loan officer will be able to steer you in the right direction and choose the mortgage that is best for you.

Pay Off Debt
Paying off debt, especially while actively trying to save money for a home, is much easier said than done. Start by listing all of your debts in order from smallest to largest debts. Snowball upward and pay off the smallest debts first, adding that smallest debt payment into the next smallest payment, and so on. Debt in and of itself will not keep you from qualifying for a mortgage. Consult with a loan officer to see if your debts will hinder the home buying process.

Boost Your Credit Score
Become familiar with your credit score, as well as your credit history. Don’t panic if your credit score is lower than you expected. Raising your credit score can often times be done quickly and easily. Your loan officer will be able to pinpoint exact ways for you to raise it in a timely manner so you can secure the mortgage loan that is right for you.

Following these resolutions will put you on the road to home buying success by the end of the year. Visit our website to contact a loan officer today.

A. Charles Edwards

A. Charles Edwards is a top producing residential loan officer who is respected by his clients and peers as a trusted advisor for the highly responsive and personalized service he provides. A. Charles specializes in helping people from all walks of life successfully navigate the home financing process. His client focused approach concentrates on gaining a clear understanding of the buyer’s objectives, helping them pinpoint and clarify their financial strategy and selecting the home financing solution that best fits their needs. A. Charles has an affinity for the first-time homebuyer, as well as investors and self-employed borrowers. He provides loan options for both purchases and refinancing. Fundamental to his success are his core values: excellence, integrity, quality, respect and empowerment. "My personal mission is to serve as a catalyst that helps people improve their lives and achieve their dreams."

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