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Home Buyer Tips

Aliso Viejo, Coto de Caza, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Irvine, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Monarch Beach, Newport Beach, Orange Park Acres, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Trabuco Canyon, Tustin

1. Begin by Fixing Your Credit Given that most buyers get a mortgage loan for their purchase, you should make sure your credit history has no errors or mistakes that could hinder the process. Obtain copies of your credit report a few months prior to starting your home search. If you find problems, get them fixed as soon as you can.

2. Get Pre-Approved
Consult with a licensed loan officer prior to looking at homes. Your employment history, credit score, income and debts play a huge factor in getting an approval. If your credit score is below 620, you may not be eligible for a conventional loan, but an FHA loan will be a great alternative or even a first choice. Discuss it with a loan consultant how you might be able to increase your score. If your income is more than enough to pay your monthly debt obligations, the loan consultant may send you a pre-approval letter that specifies the purchase price, maximum loan amount and type of loan that you will be approved for. There are many real estate agents who will not help on your search unless they are sure you have loan approval.

3. If You Can't Bring A Down Payment of 20 percent, You May Still Qualify for a Loan.
There are a many types of loans from mortgage lenders and bankers for people with low credit scores, and down payments as low 3.5% on FHA loans to zero down for Veterans Administration Loans.

4. Buy in Areas With Good Schools.
In many areas throughout California, this recommendation should be highly regarded even for those without children. The reason is in the future when you might want to sell, you'll learn that neighborhoods with great schools are one of the leading factors for a large majority of home buyers. As a result, home values stay pretty consistent and appreciate faster.

5. Get Professional Assistance
Even though consumers are able to access homes listed for sale on their target area, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better served when using a professional licensed agent. If possible, seek out an agent who works primarily with homebuyers. They will have your best interests at the forefront and negotiate better terms during the offer stages. Don't hesitate to ask your friends and neighbors for the names of agents they liked to use. Interview a few Realtors and ask them about their most recent transactions, years of experience and why you should use them.

6. Get a Home Inspection
Always hire a professional to inspect the home's foundation, plumbing, roof, electrical wiring, and major appliances. With so many weather events occurring, you want to make sure the home habitable after purchase. Hire a licensed pest inspector to confirm any signs of live infestation or damage from termite or ants. In certain situations, where it requires work, the seller may be required to cover the cost of repairs and extermination services. Your agent should know the contract inside out and can have an answer for you right away. Usually when there is extensive damage and the costs are very high to repair, you may have the option to cancel the purchase contract which is a great negotiation strategy to make sure the seller hires a professional to perform the necessary repairs.