Morgan Stanley
  • Wealth Management
  • May 13, 2016

Home Buying Starts at the Ground Floor

Before you visit your first open house, consider this checklist as you look for the home—or second home—of your dreams.

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or searching for your dream vacation house, buying a home is one of the most significant purchases you will make in your lifetime. Before starting the process of buying a house, you may want to engage in some prep work as you start your search.

Begin Investigating Neighborhoods

Deciding where you would like to buy may seem like an obvious first step, but where you live may affect your financial planning. Property taxes, insurance costs and HOA/Condo fees could potentially add significant expenses to your monthly outlay and reduce the amount you may need for long-term financial goals.

Review Your Credit Reports

Check your credit report to see if it is accurate and up to date. offers a once-a-year free credit report as mandated by Federal law. Once you receive your report, a careful review for errors can help as you begin looking for a mortgage lender. Having an accurate credit report can speed the process of looking for a mortgage. If you find errors, each credit bureau has a method for filing a dispute.

Decide How Much You Want to Spend

Consider that the cost of a home is not only the purchase price, but also property taxes and any insurance costs. A general rule of thumb is that your home expenses should not exceed 28% of your gross household income.1 A quick internet search can provide calculators that will help you estimate how much home you can afford.

Another cost factor is the condition of the house. Renovations, potential repairs and decorating can add a sizable amount to the potential costs of a home.

Find a Mortgage Lender with Competitive Rates

Shopping for a mortgage lender can be considered one of the most important steps of the home buying process. These days, many people searching for a home loan begin searching online for everything from rates and loan terms to potential lenders.

As you begin your search, you may opt to speak to your Financial Advisor (or find one here) to learn more about residential mortgage products offered by Morgan Stanley Private Bank, National Association. A Financial Advisor may connect you with a team of specialists who can help identify which options may be available and can help you from start to finish.

If you are a current client of Morgan Stanley, your relationship may also help you qualify for access to relationship based pricing which may provide discounted pricing for you or your immediate family members.

Conditional Pre-Approval Letter

Before you start seriously shopping, you may seek to obtain a conditional pre-approval letter for a residential mortgage loan. A conditional pre-approval letter not only allows you to know in advance how much you can potentially afford for a home, it may help speed up the process of your home purchase.

While buying a house can be overwhelming, taking care of key first steps such as costs, credit and what you can afford may help make your home buying journey much simpler. Talk with a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor today.

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