1. Get Pre-Approved:

Whether you're a home buyer in State College or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, there is a difference between a pre-qualified buyer and a pre-approved buyer. The pre-approval is different because the mortgage broker has gone over your financials and you know how much you can afford and the amount the bank is willing to lend. This gives you a very specific range to shop for and can help narrow your search so you can put an offer in right away when you find the right house for you. In State College, one mortgage broker is Principle Home Mortgage. D. Shane Whitteker is the owner and chief mortgage broker at PHM.

2. Keep Your Money Where it Is:

"We at Principle Home Mortgage, LLC like to really stress this point to our clients." Whitteker says. "The lenders are looking for clients who are financially reliable and pay their bills in a timely fashion (especially housing payments)." Whitteker likes to let his clients know that it’s best to not move large sums of money between 3-6 months before purchasing a house. Opening credit cards, amassing too much debt, or purchasing big ticket items can slow down and complicate the mortgage process.

3. Sleeper Costs:

"We like to talk to our clients about the costs associated with home ownership," Whitteker says. "In addition to the mortgage payment they need to think of monthly bills such as utilities, cable, internet, and phone." Also, he recommends the client to have a cushion in their budget for any needed maintenance on the home that may be unexpected. Understanding that there will be additional costs to owning a home other than the mortgage payment can reduce future financial stress.

4. Home Inspections:

A home inspection is a great way to make sure there are no hidden issues with the home you pan on purchasing. The home Inspector is an unbiased third party so his or her opinion can be very valuable. For a few hundred dollars, a home inspection is well worth it. If the inspector finds an issue with the home, it gives you, the buyer some leverage for bargaining. The buyer can require the items to be fixed or ask that the price be lowered due to the costs of the repairs. It is better to know up front if there are any issues with the home before making on of the largest purchases of your life.

5. Research Neighborhood:

You may love the house, but be sure the neighborhood works for you. State College is a great place to buy a home, but its neighborhoods vary in many different ways. Whitteker advises to do some research before making the move.

"It’s best to visit the area at different times of the day and evening to make sure it is how you imagine it is," Whitteker says. "When researching the area, be sure to research traffic, grocery store locations, restaurants (do they deliver to your area/address?), and other services. Are you interested in using public transportation? Is the bus stop or train station within an acceptable distance to your home? And of course, if you have children, it is good to research schools and where they are located and where are the parks, etc."

In closing, these are just some basic things to keep in mind as you begin the process of purchasing your home. State College-based Principle Home Mortgage, LLC is dedicated to helping you make your home ownership dreams a reality. Contact us today for your Pre-approval.