I’m doing both right now. We’re getting married next October and we close on our house in a week!!!!! Strangely enough, the only thing stressing me out is that I have to move right before Christmas and I’m a Christmas person so I love to decorate and I’m a little sad that I won’t get much more than a tree up this year.
We started looking at houses seriously back in April, right before the tax credit ran out and we almost bought when then, but FH got cold feet on it so we backed out and I’m glad we did. The house we’re getting is a) bigger b) has more features that we liked c) in the community we want and d) feels like home. Yes it’s going to cost us more, but FH sister will be living in the detached in-law apartment and paying rent to help defray the mortgage cost.
Words of advice: definitely figure out what’s most important to you in the house, whether its a nice garage, basement, a second bathroom and then figure out where you have wiggle room – fireplaces, room size, etc. The house we are buying has almost everything on our wish list, except that the bedrooms are small and funky shaped. Also, figure out what you can afford to pay on a mortgage, but also factor in utilities, especially if you’re not paying them yourself currently.
Try to pay down your debt to improve your credit score so that you can get the lowest rate possible. (in between April and now, I paid off my car and paid down a bit on my credit cards) Don’t be afraid to research different types of mortgage programs. Here in Massachusetts, if you buy in a more rural town, you can get a specialized loan for like 103% with no PMI needed. We don’t qualify, but in our initial search, we limited ourselves to such towns and didn’t really find what we were looking for.
Also, when it’s time to move, label your “wedding boxes” on every side so you know exactly what’s in them, and move them yourself if need be.
Oh, and, if you’re hesitant, even a tiny bit, don’t. I know how alluring the idea of your own home and own space can be after living in apartments or with family can be. BUT, it may be far, far better to move into a cheap tiny apartment and save the difference between your rent and anticipate mortgage cost so when you are ready, you have the funds. Best of luck to you!
You can absolutely do this if you want to. You don’t necessarily need to be pre-approved to look as you may not become pre-approved without a property in mind.