If buying your first home seems daunting, I have come up with 7 Secrets for First Time Homebuyers to help make things a little easier. By understanding the basics of the market and the opportunities and challenges presented, you can make sure that you get exactly what you want the first time around.
First Time Homebuyer Secret #1: Get Your Finances in Order
If you haven't pulled your credit report recently, do that now. Clear up any innacuracies or fix issues that may be affecting your score. Lenders look for the 4 C's of Credit: credit history (timely bill paying), capital (money available for a down payment), capacity (income versus debt), and collateral (the value and condition of the house).
First Time Homebuyer Secret #2: Get Some Guidance
Certified Housing Counselors are non-profit organizations that will offer unbiased advice regarding purchasing real estate- from explaining the big picture of owning property to which homes will suit you best.
First Time Homebuyer Secret #3: Examine your Lifestyle
Owning a home is great, but it's not for everyone. Take some time to think about your lifestyle preferences, income level and location needs to determine if now is the right time for you to buy.
First Time Homebuyer Secret #4: Look at Financial Assistance Programs
Some nonprofit organizations and government agencies can help you with down payment and/or closing costs through low-interest loans or grants.
First Time Homebuyer Secret #5: What Else Do You Need?
Think about all the other elements that go along with purchasing your first home. Services such as plumbing and contractors to appliance purchases will impact your bottom line. Get referrals and shop around a little so you have things ready to go when you need them.
First Time Homebuyer Secret #6: Get Pre-Approved
Meet with lenders (you can get referrals from your Real Estate Agent) to get Pre-Approved for a certain loan amount before you begin seriously looking at properties. This will make the process much easier and quicker.
First Time Homebuyer Secret #7: Location is Everything
Do some homework on the areas you think you want to live. Look at school districts, property tax rates, insurance rates, crime rates and general statistics. Visit neighborhoods during the day and at night to get a feel for who lives there. The more you know what you want, the better job your agent can do for you.
It's important that you choose a Real Estate Agent who is experienced in working with First Time Homebuyers, so they will walk you through the process clearly and efficiently, and make sure that your first experience is a positive one. With a good agent and these 7 Secrets for First Time Homebuyers, you are well on your way to owning your first home.
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