If you’re ready to pursue the American dream and buying a house, there are lots of things to consider before you take the plunge.

For those looking at buying a house in Arizona, there are some key points you should take into account before you write an offer.

Read on to discover how first-time homebuyers can successfully find the home of their dreams in Arizona.

Check Your Credit Scores First

Before you even look at listings or hire a realtor, you need to check your credit scores. Even a small reduction of your scores can be the difference between an approval and a denial.

If your credit’s not up to par, start taking steps to get your FICO mortgage score higher immediately. Not only will higher scores improve your odds of getting approved, but you’ll also get better rates and terms.

Avoid closing old lines of credit and don’t open new ones, either. Instead, get your overall utilization down, look for any late payments or collection accounts, and get them paid as soon as possible.

You should also make sure you already have enough money saved for a down payment and closing costs.

Budget and Learn the Market Before Buying a House in Arizona

The state of Arizona has plenty of affordable homes, particularly outside of the big cities. Create a budget and determine how much money you’re willing and able to spend on a home.

Once you’ve drafted a budget, you can start looking at homes within your price range. A pre-qualification letter from a lender will give you more buying power, and it will give you a snapshot of just how much home you can really afford.

After you have the price parameters set, you can narrow down your choices. Use apps and websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor to help you create a list of your favorite homes.

Hire a Reputable Realtor

As soon as you have your credit in order, your budget in place, and your pre-qualification letter, it’s time to find a realtor. Your realtor will be your ally and representative throughout the home buying process.

If you’re buying a house in Arizona and you have friends here, ask them if they recommend a certain realtor. Word of mouth and happy past customers is a great way to gauge whether the realtor you choose will work for you.

The realtor will help you look at new listings, and they’ll make an offer to the seller on your behalf. But before you even start this process, sit down with your realtor and let them know exactly what it is you want in a home.

Make a list of your preferred locations, must-haves, and some things you’d rather not have when you buy a home. This list will make it much easier for the realtor to only show you properties they think you’ll like.

Schedule a home inspection after you find a home you want to buy. The inspector will point out any serious issues, and your realtor will help you communicate with the buyer so you can agree on any repairs.

Choose a Lender

The lender you select will play an integral role in your ability to buy a home. Do some shopping and find out which lenders will offer you a reasonable rate and attractive terms.

By law, you have at least 30 days to apply with over one lender without it affecting your credit score. Don’t be afraid to “rate shop” until you find a mortgage bank or broker who can offer you the best terms.

The lender will work with you to gather all the important documentation you need to close the loan. Some common examples of paperwork include pay stubs, tax returns or W2s, bank statements, and your full credit report.

With all the information in-hand, the lender can process your loan. This process is called underwriting and can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days on average to complete.

While you’re waiting, you must avoid using any credit to make major purchases. Paying for items with credit can derail the entire process and could cost you the home, so cut those cards up or put them away until after you close.

Closing Day

After your loan is approved, you should receive the “clear to close” which means your mortgage is ready to be processed. Your lender will give you a disclosure that shows you all of the closing fees in advance.

This form is called a Closing Disclosure and will inform you of how much cash you must bring with you to close. Closing costs can typically be paid via wire transfer or a certified check.

When you get to the closing table, expect to sign a lot of paperwork. After all the papers are signed and the money is transferred, you will get the keys to your new home!

Once you move in, you may need to do some upgrades like find the best window replacement company or roofer.

Arizona Living

With its beautiful landscape and affordable cost of living, it’s no surprise that buying a house in Arizona is part of your big-picture goals. Get your credit in order, find a quality realtor, and start house shopping so you can find the home of your dreams.

With a bit of hard work and an understanding of the home buying process, you should be able to find the perfect home for you and your family.

For more on Arizona living, real estate, and business keep browsing our website.