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How to find out if you qualify to buy a house

Posted September 25, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

Let me start this column out this month by stating loudly, we are in a buyer’s market.

If you have been thinking about wanting to buy a house, it is time to seriously consider the possibility. You can make payments for your own home lower than what you can pay for a rental. Rentals are in short demand, which helps the landlords ask more for the rent than you would pay if renting. Interest rates on a mortgage loan are still extremely low. The listing prices are beginning to inch higher. Inventory of homes on the market is increasing so you have more options to choose from in the price range you might want to buy into.

Where do you begin if you want to see if you can even buy a house, and how much house can you buy? You contact your local mortgage lender and he or she will help you get the process started. You will start out by telling him or her what goals you might have in a house and what range of a payment you might feel comfortable with. Next you will complete a mortgage application. Your mortgage lender will then take a look at your application and let you know whether you will qualify for the range you are looking for in a house, or whether a different price range of home would fit your debt and income better.

At this point the lender, for the most part, will be able to tell you how much you are pre-approved to go shopping for your new home. Or he or she could tell you that you and the lender have some work to do to get you ready to buy a house, but perhaps there are some things that need to be cleaned up. This, too, is not bad. The lender just wants to see you get the lowest mortgage interest rate possible. It is not out of the ordinary to have a few things to clean up. These things don’t always take long to clear. It is best to have all of the items cleaned up before you go shopping for a house. If you don’t do the homework ahead of time, you might find you don’t get the house you absolutely fell in love with, ahead of the pre-approval phase. Before you shop for a house or make an offer on a house, take the time needed to get pre-approved. You will be glad you did. Also, when the perfect home comes along you will be ahead of the game to make the offer because you are already pre-approved.

It is great fun to go house shopping, but if you are serious at all, get pre-approved first before you go to that first open house.

Information provided by Lori Slings, Valley Bank, 160 Adventureland Drive, Suite H, Altoona, 515) 967-4700,

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