If you are an “empty nester “about to start looking for a new home, the following tips can help you streamline the process and avoid some major pitfalls.
By: Thomas Foster
Buying a home, regardless of your age or status, is never a straightforward endeavor. If you are an empty-nester ready to make a new nest, the following tips can help you streamline the process.
Check Your Credit
You may think your credit is good, but forgotten bills, excess store credit cards and other credit issues may be bringing your score down. Before you start applying for a new mortgage, pull a copy of your credit report. By law, you can access a free copy of a report from each of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. By understanding what is on your report and how it is affecting your credit score, you can avoid any surprises during the loan application process.
Bide Your Time
Certain months are better for real estate shopping than other months, and depending on where you live, you may want to delay your shopping until the right season. AOL Real Estate reports that Midwestern house prices drop by an average of $10,000 between August and September while prices in the Northwest fall by about $20,000 in October. If you live in the western or southern states, on the other hand, you may want to avoid shopping during the winter as prices tend to jump up around that time.
Do Not Submit Any New Credit Applications
If you are sending kids off to college, it may be tempting to hand them a credit card for expenses or buy them a new car. However, you should avoid either of these things if they require you to open a new line of credit. MSN Real Estate reports that applying for credit when you are trying to apply for a new mortgage can be disastrous.
The credit applications can have a negative impact on your credit score, and if your score drops by too much, you may face a higher interest rate on your new mortgage. Even a store credit card can negatively impact your credit score, so when the cashier asks if you want to save 10 percent by opening a line of credit, just decline the offer. It may cost you more in the long run. If possible, wait until you are in your new home before applying for any new credit cards or loans.
Protect Your Identity During the Move
Although you may want to tell all of your Twitter followers and your Facebook friends about your new home, avoid putting your address on any of your social media accounts. Identity thieves can steal your information with just a few clues, and your address gives them the perfect jumping off point.
In addition, keep your credit cards and bank statements in a safe spot, like a safety deposit box, during the move. Visit LifeLock.com to learn more about protecting your identity before, during and after your move.
Think Carefully Before Buying a Fixer-Upper
You may have images of carpentry work and gardening during your retirement, but Investopedia cautions you to not bite off more than you can chew. Before buying a home that needs a ton of work, think carefully about the time and money that the home needs.
About the Author:
Thomas Foster is a real estate expert and blogger from West Palm Beach.
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