Especially if you're a first-time homebuyer, it may be exciting to hit the ground running this spring and begin your home search for properties in the Grand Rapids area. But don't get too carried away— there are a few tasks to cross off your list before you make that big Grand Rapids real estate purchase. According to AOL Real Estate, "Getting a loan right now is a lot easier than it has been, [but] getting a home right now is brutally different." You should make sure you're fully prepared before you take off on your real estate journey and your finances are the first place to start. They are everything you will need to buy a home in Grand Rapids— here are just a few aspects of your finances to spring clean this season:

To Do: Round Up the Documents

You will soon learn, or if you've purchased a home before then you know, that buying real estate requires quite a bit of paperwork and specific documents. Many of these will come from you— so be prepared with everything you need. Round up the documents— these may be W-2's, tax returns, or tax forms like a 1099 if you're self-employed, any document or form to show your income over the past few years. In fact, the more assets you can show, the better. Lenders will want to know you have the ability to repay the loan, in addition to mortgage insurance. Many will even want to see a set of "reserves," or savings that can cover more than one mortgage payment. Two months or more of these "reserve" funds will show a lender you are prepared to make your payments and will be in good shape when they begin assessing your financial situation.

To Do: File Your Taxes

It's tax time, but don't be late on filing your returns! Many of the important documents associated with buying a home in Grand Rapids will come from your tax returns, both past and present. Why? Mortgage lenders like to take a look at your tax returns to prove your income. When you file on time, you are on track to showing a lender you're ready to make that purchase. But no matter if you owe taxes and are making payments now, or if you're planning to file an extension, the lender will still want to see the documents, so have them at the ready when your Grand Rapids home search begins to progress.

To Do: Find Your Credit Score

It's the season for spring cleaning and you shouldn't leave out your finances. Now is the time to do some research on your credit score— this way you can find and fix any errors that may come up before you purchase a Grand Rapids home. Errors on your credit report do happen and it's important you take the time to fix them before you begin the serious homebuying process. Depending on the error, these can often tax months to correct, so get a head start this spring.

To Do: Talk to Your Grand Rapids Realtor

You've taken the steps to prepare your finances, you've spot checked and cleaned your credit score, and you've got a few homes or even the neighborhood in mind. Next up is speaking with your Grand Rapids real estate agent to get the ball rolling. Do not rely solely on the internet as your primary source for Grand Rapids area real estate, your agent is key! The market is changing and your agent, as a local expert, will be able to fill you in on the status of the market in your area. Feel free to contact me this season as you prepare to buy a home in the Grand Rapids area, I'm happy to help! I can work with you through the entire process and fill you in on more steps to take to ensure real estate success. 

I look forward to speaking with you!

I happily serve the areas of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, Grandville, Kentwood, Caledonia, Walker, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Belmont, Comstock Park, Byron Center, Wyoming, Alpine, Kenowa Hills, Plainfield, Cannon, Lowell, Sand Lake, Jenison, Hudsonville, Wayland, Belmont, Alto and Kent City

Mark Brace

Brace Homes

Realtor, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, e-pro, AHWD, SFR

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate

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