Step #1: Get a copy of your credit report.
If you are thinking of buying a new home or refinancing your existing home get a copy of your credit report right now. You can do this on-line at any number of sites or you can contact any mortgage broker and they can run one for you. If you get yours on-line pay the extra cost to see your credit score. The average credit score in Missouri is 683. Your credit score is one major factor that is going to affect your rate. Look your credit report over very carefully. If there are any incorrect entries or any suspicious activities highlight the item or items. Towards the end of the report you will find instructions on how to dispute any items within the report. Take action immediately and be very thorough. Keep accurate notes of any person you speak with, get their name, phone number and keep copies of all correspondence, even the letters you send out. Also note it takes time to clear inaccuracies. Be patient and be persistent.
Step #2: Get Pre-Approved
The next step you need to take is to get Pre-Approved. The Pre-Approval process will let you know exactly how much home you can afford. Just because you are approved for a loan amount of $300,000 does not mean you have to go out a buy a $300,000 home. On the contrary, we recommend you take a more conservative approach and stress comfortable affordability. By that I mean you need to look at your overall financial picture and your short and long term financial goals. Be able to pay your mortgage, bills, and credit cards and have money left over every month to put into savings. At least have two months in reserves so that in case of emergency you could pay all your bills with no problem. By the way, the pre-approval process should be free.
Step #3: Educate Yourself
For most of us our homes are our largest investment so take the time to understand the various types of loans available and the ramifications of each. If you spend less time researching your mortgage than you do a car purchase or that flat screen HDTV, you are setting yourself up for failure and frankly, the consequences of a failed mortgage permeate throughout other aspects of your life. I see it far too often and if there is one piece of wisdom you will take from this, is that your long term financial success may very well depend on your mortgage. Once you have a basic understanding ask questions. If your broker does not explain each concern to your liking simply find a different broker that will provide you the answers to your questions.
These are only three steps you can take right now but do not procrastinate. Get your financial house in order today. You will be glad you did and your mortgage will not seem like a huge debt to be paid down every month but an investment to be proud of for years to come.