6 Smart Steps for First-Time Homebuyers
Ready to buy your first home? Congratulations! Buying your first home is an exciting step toward a more secure future. As experienced mortgage pro's, we’d like to offer you some smart tips to help you get off to a strong start with your home purchase.
And remember that we are always available for a friendly consultation, should you have questions.
First Steps to Buying Your First Home
1. It’s Never Too Early to Start Saving
20% is the norm for a down-payment. However, several loan programs require much less. In fact, you may be surprised to know that many first-time home buying loans ask for as little as 3% down! Putting less than 20% often comes with the necessity of paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), increasing your final monthly payment. We can help you calculate a comfortable mortgage payment based on your down-payment and loan choice.
2. Determine How Much You Can Afford
Knowing an estimate of your monthly payment, as well as how much you qualify for, will help to determine the price range. Though you can use an online calculator to get a rough estimate, a smarter option is to get prequalified. It's easy to get started too! Begin the process online on or call the office --either way, getting pre-qualified is a smart start to buying your first home.
3. Review Your Credit
Your credit is a key factor in home loan approval. It also determines both your interest rate and possibly the terms of your loan. We recommend that you review your credit history and dispute any mistakes that could be lowering your credit score. Also, look for opportunities to raise your credit score, such as paying off debt or asking for a higher line of credit to increase your available credit-to-debt ratio.
4. Explore Your Down-Payment Options
First-time loan programs are numerous, with the most well-known mortgage programs being Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both of these home loan options allow for a 3% downpayment.
Other low-down payment options to consider:
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, which permit down payments as low as 3.5%.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) loans, which sometimes require no down payment
Another popular option, especially among first-time homebuyers, is family members for money gift to help come up with your down payment.
5. Budget Your Closing Costs
Don't forget to add in closing costs, which can run between 2% and 5% of your loan amount. We can help you compare the cost of closing expenses, such as homeowners insurance, home inspections, and title searches. You can also ask the seller to pay for your closing costs!
6. Consider What Kind of Property to Buy
A single-family home may seem ideal, but if you prefer less property maintenance and extra amenities (and you don’t mind a homeowner's association fee), a condo or townhome could be a smarter choice.
Ready to take a smart step toward homeownership? We're here to assist you every step of the way. Call our office today or begin the process directly on our site. We'll be in touch soon and look forward to working with you.