It's that time of the year again, when people begin seriously focusing on what the new year will bring. New Year's resolutions are, sadly, often put aside once the year gets underway. But, if you're serious about buying and/or selling this year, it is a great time to develop a plan for getting what you want for the best price possible. Some of this I can help you with, but some of it you're going to need to do yourself or with a financial adviser. 

If you think you'll be buying, you need to immediately take a look at your credit. In the wake of the market fall-out, it's become much harder to borrow money. Banks want to know they're going to get their money back, and they'll take a hard look at your previous credit habits. Now, many people simply stop right there, knowing their credit just isn't going to be good enough. But, if that is the case, you can take steps that will change that evaluation. Get current credit reports from the main credit agencies and review them. If there are mistakes, you can get them fixed. If there are problems, you can work out solutions with individual creditors to clear them up. I'll give you some suggestions for more information about credit repair at the end of this post.

You will also need to have a sizable down payment if you're going to buy. And of course, the bigger the down payment, the more willing banks are going to be to make you a good deal for the remainder of the purchase price. The key to a saving for a down payment is to have a clear goal in mind and to find ways to make it a reality. Cutting out luxuries for a year or two while you put money away can be a quick way to accumulate money for a down payment. Tax refunds and work bonus money are excellent sources of down payment funds. Building a big enough down payment may take time, but then buying a house is a long-term investment and worth the effort.

If you already know the location where you want to find a new home, begin taking a look at prices for houses already on the market. This is where I can really help you identify the right houses for you and just how much money a house in the neighborhood or town you like will cost. Once you have that ballpark figure, you can determine how much money you'll want to have saved for a down payment and how much money you'll need to finance. 

With these three things, you can begin to build a reasonable plan to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. Everyone will have their own unique plan, and some people will have an easier road to home ownership than others. But, just having a plan, and a real estate professional to help, is a solid foundation for reaching your goal for the year ahead. Let's work together and see what we can accomplish!

Credit Repair Resources


This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.