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3 important moves homebuyers should make before spring

Homebuyers looking for a home this spring should consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage now. Getty Images/iStockphoto

The official start to spring is just weeks away and, with it comes the most popular time of the year for homebuyers. Spring is often thought of as an opportune time for house hunting, thanks to a combination of improved weather and a better timeline for moving in the summer or fall. 

That said, mortgage rates are elevated right now and are exponentially higher than they were just a few years ago. And they're unlikely to fall soon after a report this week showed inflation remaining stubborn

Against this backdrop, buyers may want to start making moves now so they're ready to act when they find their dream home in March or April. Below, we'll break down three important moves homebuyers should make before the spring real estate market heats up. 

Start by seeing what mortgage rate you could secure here now.

3 important moves homebuyers should make before spring

Thinking of buying a home this spring? Here are three important moves to make right now.

Improve your credit profile (and don't apply for more)

While today's average mortgage rates are high they'll be even higher if you apply with a subpar credit score and profile. So make every effort now to improve your credit standing. This means paying down (or completely off) many of your debts and paying your existing bills on time (or early). 

But it also means refraining from applying for any additional credit for the time being. There are multiple ways to improve your credit from fair to good that you should explore right now — but it's equally important to maintain that improved standing once it's achieved as you could lose your interest rate if your profile deteriorates before closing.

Start exploring your mortgage options online now.

Get pre-approved

Once you've boosted your credit profile, you'll want to get pre-approved for the mortgage amount you feel comfortable paying back. When you do ultimately find a home that you want to make an offer on, sellers will want to know that you're ready to act promptly. A pre-approval, then, will underline this point. 

And remember that you don't necessarily need to use the bank you get pre-approved with for your eventual mortgage loan. You'll still likely want to shop around to find the best rates and terms. However, a pre-approval will help show your commitment to moving the process forward.

Understand your options

Even with rates as high as they currently are, it doesn't mean that you still can't secure a below-average rate. It just may require a bit more work. So understand all of your options now so you're ready to act when the time comes. This means talking to lenders about their adjustable-rate mortgages as well as what it would cost to buy mortgage points (and how much that could save you each month). 

You may also want to look into locking a rate now so that it doesn't rise higher (you can always unlock and re-lock a lower rate if available before closing). Just clearly understand these options right now because you may need to make an urgent decision once the spring market heats up.

Learn more about your mortgage options online here.

The bottom line

With the spring homebuying market imminent prospective buyers should be prepared to make some strategic moves now to better position themselves in the months to come. This ranges from improving your credit profile to getting pre-approved for a loan to researching and reviewing all possible options to obtain a below-average rate. While these moves won't make the rates of 2020 and 2021 reappear, they will significantly help buyers compete in what is likely to be a unique spring homebuying season. 

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