First-Time Home Buyers

A house is one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make, and that can be especially scary when it’s your first time doing it. Here’s some of the most common advice I find myself giving first-time home buyers.

Know your credit score

Your credit score can make or break your mortgage application, and you should check yours and settle any disputes before a lender pulls it.  If you’re buying a home with a partner, also keep in mind that both of your scores must be high enough to qualify if you both want to be on the loan—lenders don’t average the scores.

Mind your budget

In addition to your down payment, you’ll also have to pay closing fees (2-5% of the loan), inspection fees, as well your moving costs and immediate repairs. Make sure you factor in these costs upfront, or risk busting your budget later.

Don’t skip the home inspection

It can be tempting to pass on inspecting your potential property—and the fees that come with it—if everything looks in good repair. However, there are plenty of problems that only a professional can spot, and those problems may help you negotiate a better deal.

Choose the right mortgage

Many borrowers don’t realize how many mortgage options they have, or realize that they can have almost any term length they want. Here are a few of the most popular options:

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – These offer a low introductory fixed rate (usually for 5 years) before increasing the rate. These are usually idea for people who plan on moving again in the near future.
  • FHA loan – These loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and allow down payments as low as 3.5%. They’re great for first-timers.
  • Fixed Rate Mortgage – This is your standard mortgage, with a fixed interest rate and monthly payments for the life of the loan.
  • VA mortgage – This is a mortgage for active military, veterans, and their families, with benefits like no money down and no closing costs.

Get pre-approved

Before you even hit your first open house, you should have a pre-approval letter from a lender. Not only will this help give you an idea of what you can afford to spend, it can help you stand out to sellers. An offer that has already been approved for a loan looks a lot better than one that hasn’t.

Think you’re ready to get started? Give me a call or shoot me an email—I’d be glad to help.