Here's some important advice: as soon as you have made the decision that
you want to buy a house, one of your first steps should be to make certain that you have a clear picture of your
financial situation. At a minimum, you will most likely want to do the following:
Do an analysis of your current financial
situation: where the money comes from (your total income) and where the money is presently going (your current
spending). Develop a household budget for your current situation. Get into the habit of using it on a consistent basis!
Keep your spending patterns in check.
We have a number of budget hints to help.
Do an analysis of how a house purchase
will affect your budget. Be sure to factor in not only mortgage payments (including insurance and taxes) but also
funds for items such as repairs and maintenance.
Begin to gather items such as: last
3 years Income Tax returns, current copies of pay stubs, records of any past derogatory credit history that has
since been paid off, and records of any supplemental income you may have. If you are self employed, you will need
all business records and tax returns for the last 3 years. Having these items close at hand will save an enormous
amount of time when the Mortgage Company begins to ask for them (and ask for them they will!)
If it is possible to do so without
adversely affecting your down-payment situation, pay off minor debts. The less debt you have the easier your Mortgage
"sailing" will be.
Do not incur any new debt. Many mortgage
applications have been stopped in their tracks because the applicants had decided a week before the application
that a shiny new car with a big finance or lease payment would look just perfect in the driveway of their new home.
Since mortgages are based on debt to income ratios (the amount you pay out monthly versus the amount you bring
in) a newly acquired debt could be enough to throw the ratios off and make the mortgage unobtainable.