PROVIDENCE, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the spring home buying season gets underway, Charter One is offering suggestions to help consumers prepare for buying a home. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the busiest months for home sales take place between April and July.
“Buying a home can be one of the biggest purchases a consumer will make and we want to be sure they are armed with helpful information as they prepare to make this major investment,” said Cheryl Nolda, President, Home Lending Solutions, RBS Citizens Financial Group. “A house is the foundation where individuals and families build their lives and make memories and we are here to help them throughout the process as they realize their goal of homeownership.”
Once a consumer has determined that homeownership is right for them, Charter One offers the following home buying tips to start the process.
- Determine your purchasing power – Know how much you can afford to spend on a house before you start looking in order to help you focus on houses in your price range. How much can you afford to spend depends largely on your income and current monthly debt payments.
- Secure your credit report – Get a copy of your credit report to determine if there are any potential issues that need to be addressed and corrected before applying for a mortgage. To order your free annual credit reports, call 1-877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Do your mortgage homework – Especially if you are a first-time buyer, take the time to learn important mortgage and home-buying terms and understand their meanings. Investigate the details – are there additional costs, such as origination or application fees?
- Get pre-approved – Complete a mortgage pre-approval assessment before you start your search so you know approximately how much money you can borrow from your lender. Many sellers require a pre-approval letter before reviewing a buyer’s offer. After you apply for a loan, avoid doing anything that would negatively impact your credit score such as opening a new credit or charging large amounts. This is true even after you receive the initial loan approval. Your credit report may be pulled again before loan closing.
- Select a real estate agent – Work with a real estate agent who can make the home buying process easier and more efficient. A real estate agent will match you with the homes you can afford and those that suit your preferences. They know the market and will negotiate with the seller to get the best price possible.
- Buyer’s checklist – Use a home buyer’s checklist at each house you visit to keep track of important features like amenities, neighborhood and schools. This helps you compare notes and remember the differences and characteristics of each house, especially if you visit several houses in different locations.
- Know the market – Knowing the facts is key to paying less and it also will improve your negotiating strength. When you know local market and home values, you are less likely to overpay for a property. Use the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and full MLS listing details of the most similar comparable properties to help you know how much you should offer. And be on the lookout for owners who are eager to sell and willing to negotiate – this can save you thousands of dollars.
- Home inspection – Hire a professional home inspector to determine if there are any potential problems that may be expensive to repair in the near future.
- Have a backup plan – You and the seller may reach a stalemate when negotiating. Consider developing a back-up plan just in case you are unable to reach an agreement. Define your maximum offer and do not go over it – there are almost always other homes that will meet your criteria.
For more tips and information about the home buying process, check out the online Charter One Home Ownership kit, visit a local Charter One branch to speak with a Home Financing Specialist or call 1-866-612-6206.
As part of its commitment to providing sensible lending solutions to customers, Charter One’s Charter for Homes program emphasize the company’s long-standing pledge to responsibly meet the individual needs of customers with the home borrowing products and services that are right for them.
About Charter One
Charter One is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It has 339 branches and 509 ATMs. It has 103 branches and 243 ATMs in Illinois. It has 103 branches and 106 ATMs in Michigan. It has 133 branches and 160 ATMs in Ohio. Charter One’s website is charterone.com.
RBS Citizens, N.A., is a subsidiary of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $127 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and through its subsidiaries has approximately 1,400 branches, approximately 3,600 ATMs and more than 19,000 colleagues. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. RBSCFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states. RBSCFG is owned by RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). RBSCFG’s website is citizensbank.com.