Top 12 First-Time Home Buyer To-Do’s

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Summary: There are many tips and tricks for clients who are first-time home buyers. Individuals who have not owned a property within the past three years are one of many that qualify as a first-time home buyer. Continue reading to learn about our top 12 tips that will set you up for home buying success!

Who Are First-Time Home Buyers?

There are many situations and circumstances that make a client a first-time home buyer.

  • An individual who has not owned a property within the last three years.
  • A single parent who only owned a home with a previous partner while married.
  • A displaced stay-at-home partner who once owned a home with a spouse.

To know if you qualify as a first-time home buyer, call your mortgage lender and talk to a Home Loan Advisor.

Top 12 First-Time Home Buyer To-Dos

  1. Be Ready to Commit
    • The length of a loan term for a housing loan can be up to 30 years. There are variations such as a 15-year loan term or a flex term.
    • Borrowers and homeowners do not have to live in the home for this long, but a mortgage is a lengthy commitment.
  2. Start Saving!
    • Begin saving up for your home before you start home searching.
    • In addition to down payment and closing costs, there are additional expenses such as home insurance, home appraisal, home inspection, and moving costs.
    • Evaluate your spending and recognize areas where you can cut back.
  3. Create a List
    • Have a clear understanding of your housing needs by identifying and creating a list of important features, attributes, and wants for your future home.
    • Narrow your preferences by weighing the pros and cons of different homes and neighborhoods.
    • Have an open mind on what is selling in the market.
  4. Maintain Your Credit
    • Use your credit limits wisely to positively help impact your credit score.
    • Pay bills on time and try not to open new lines of credit.
    • Keep current and fully paid-off credit cards open.
    • Get a free copy of your credit report to ensure accuracy and find opportunities to improve your score.
    • When you apply for a mortgage, the higher your credit score, the better your interest rate.
  5. Explore Mortgage Loan Options and Shop Around
    • Compare loan estimates, interest rates, and costs from different mortgage lenders.
    • A variety of mortgage options are available to borrowers of all situations and needs.
    • Borrowers are also encouraged to explore different mortgage loan terms—15-year, 30-year, and a flex term.
  6. Get a Pre-Approval
    • A pre-approval informs borrowers on the loan amount, type, and terms they qualify for.
    • It helps the home search be more effective when working with a budget.
    • Home offers with a pre-approval are more solid.
  7. Find a Realtor
    • Realtors offer knowledgeable advice on the housing market’s condition.
    • Realtors help assess neighborhoods and homes, schedule tours, negotiate, and write up contracts.
    • They will ensure all your needs are fulfilled and hold your best interest throughout the home purchase.
  8. Get a Home Inspection
    • Home inspectors evaluate the condition of the home.
    • They will investigate potential problems and focus on safety hazards that need to be addressed.
    • Buyers often make informed decisions based on home inspection finds.
  9. Be Aware of Homeownership Costs
    • There are additional costs to owning a home than just a down payment and closing expenses.
    • Make sure you consider the costs of property taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowners’ insurance, hazard insurance, repairs, maintenance, utilities, and more.
  10. Stick To Your Budget
    • Do not feel pressured to spend beyond your budget to outbid an offer.
    • Focus on a monthly payment you can afford instead of the maximum loan amount offered by a mortgage lender.
    • Remember to be logical when it comes to home purchasing.
      • Do not make an emotional decision on a home; emotional decisions can lead buyers to stretch their budget and go over.
  11. Research First-Time Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Programs
    • There are programs locally, regionally, and nationally that help first-time home buyers with down payments and closing costs.
  12. You DO NOT have to put 20% down
    • Down payment amounts depend on the loan type.
      • There are loan options that allow borrowers to put 0% down while other loan options allow borrowers to put as little as 3% down.
    • Explore loan options by contacting a mortgage lender to learn more about the resources that best fit your budget and needs!

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