October is often the best time of the year to purchase a home. While homebuying is an exciting process, it can also be stressful and overwhelming. Here to give some insight into how to make the homebuying process easier is Rich Allensworth from Rock Mortgage.

Families have a lot to juggle. Most of us are looking for ways to save time and make things run more smoothly. What advice would you give potential homebuyers to make the process a little easier on themselves?

First and foremost, it’s important to set clear goals for your home buying process. For example, go into the conversation with your lender with an idea of what you can afford. Only you can decide how much you are comfortable paying for your housing each month. You should keep in mind your whole financial picture and your own financial goals and don’t forget that interest, taxes, and insurance will factor in — your lender will help you with that. You should also consider other costs of homeownership such as appliances, repairs, and maintenance, as those expenses will also affect your ability to make monthly mortgage loan payments.

What else can homebuyers consider ahead of time in order to streamline the process?

It boils down to knowing what you want before you start shopping. That is so important if you want to save time and, ultimately, be satisfied with your purchase. Write down all the things you want out of a home — your must-haves, in addition to goals and dreams. You might ask your spouse, loved ones or friends for input. You can bring this list to your agent, and he or she can go over the list with you while keeping your budget in mind. Your agent can help you clarify what things are the most important to you. For example: What’s more important—a bigger home with a larger mortgage or more financial flexibility. Then, he or she can direct you toward areas that will work with your budget and your lifestyle needs.

There seems to be a theme developing of knowing what you can afford and making a list of needs in a home. What else can help homebuyers throughout the homebuying process?

Yes. Like many things in life, the more you plan ahead, the more smoothly and quickly the process will go. Along those lines, the third tip I would give is to get prequalified for your home loan. Getting prequalified for a home loan will require you to meet with your mortgage lender and review your financial history, so that you know how large a mortgage loan you can afford. Being pre-approved gives you the advanced knowledge of how much home you can afford, and allows you to begin shopping for a home within your qualified budget. Right now, the market requires you to act fast. Getting prequalified will save you from getting your heart set on a house, only to miss out because the process is delayed. 

You should also try to avoid any huge purchases or moving your money around three to six months before buying a new home. Lenders need to see that you’re reliable and they want a complete paper trail so that they can get you the best loan possible. If you open new credit cards, amass too much debt or buy a lot of big-ticket items, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan or it could slow things down. If you have something you know is coming up, discuss it with your lender.

I think many of us have noticed the changing nature of the housing market in the past few months. Do you have any other advice for making the homebuying process smoother considering these market conditions?

Absolutely. There are a lot of factors impacting the housing market from competition among buyers and rising interest rates. Mortgage lenders can’t impact these rising interest rates but the thing that’s going to make the biggest difference in the homebuying experience is who you are working with. You need a trusted lender who you feel comfortable with, and you also need a great real estate agent who knows the area well. When you have the right team, the process will be smoother and faster. If you are looking for a lender, I and my colleagues at Rock Mortgage are always happy to help and we have decades of experience between us. 

 Can you tell folks where they can reach you if they want more information or if they are interested in working with Rock Mortgage? 

Sure. For more information, call us at 479.321.3355 or 479.313.7153 or visit our website at rockmortgagelending.com.