First, I'm assuming you have a job and that you have had that job for a few years and you feel pretty secure in your job.
Second, I'm assuming you have thought about owning a home instead of renting.
Third, I'm assuming you haven't checked your credit because you are afraid to and don't know where you can for free.
Taking those things into consideration, I say this:
First thing's first. Find a lender, someone who will work with you on credit issues if you have them (usually for free). Yep, free! A good lender can tell you pretty quickly if home ownership is within reach immediately or at least within a relatively short time if you have something to work on. A good lender will also be able to create a plan with you on what you need to work on and how long it will take to get you to the place of being able to obtain a mortgage. A good lender will not simply dismiss you and say, "sorry, you can't do this." A good lender is going to give you the tools, provide you a plan and be sure you stay in the price range you are comfortable with. I happen to know a GREAT lender who will do all the things I mentioned! When talking to the lender, you will learn about your credit too. You may be surprised to find out that changing your score is quicker and easier than you thought. Your Credit Score is updated every two weeks; most people don't know that. I know I didn't before I got into real estate.
If you want to look at your credit on your own a good free place to start is www.creditkarma.com. This site is free and has cool features that you can use all for free to calculate your score if you paid down or off a credit card. It's free all the time. Another place to check out your credit is on www.annualcreditreport.com. You can't see your score on this site, but you can pull your credit once a year for free from all three credit reporting agencies.
Now that you know your score and how to keep up with it and that you can obtain a mortgage loan the next thing to do is find an agent. Find one that you like, that fits your personality and that you feel you can spend a lot of time with. You'll be spending a lot of time with that person, so it's important that you guys jive. An agent should not only help you find a home and take you to view homes and write a contract for you, they should have your best interest at heart! They should listen to your needs, your wants, ask your opinion, re-evaluate those wants and needs throughout the process, be a reliable source of information and be available to you. Wants and needs change throughout the process. You may think you want certain things and won't negotiate on those wants, but then you get out there and you find you want other things instead and that your first thoughts weren't exactly spot on. Your agent should be able to move with those changes and find you a home to call your own. Could you go at this process without an agent? Sure, there's nothing stopping you; except that that's a very bad idea. If you aren't versed in the real estate world, you might get lost and scammed in the transaction. An agent is your protection, and your buyer agent is free!
Okay, so now you've talked to a lender, you're qualified for a mortgage, you know what your price range is, you have your agent picked out and you're ready to start hunting. Wait; I thought you said you couldn't buy a house? Well, just like everything else that changes in the world, your thoughts on this matter have changed too!
Home ownership is a great investment, source of pride and is still the Great American Dream!
Call The Proeber Team today to get started!
Andrea Proeber is now a Broker Associate! She has been a Realtor in Marion County for over a decade and specializes in long term real estate investing and property management.