The state of the nation's economy and current housing market is creating quite differing financial scenarios for some americans. While many are suffering hardships or battling through mortgage mayhem, the very same issues they are facing are causing quite the opposite effect for others and opening up avenues of opportunity.
Most areas of our country have seen prices of homes and property drop or level-off. Although admittedly harder to obtain than in the past because of the financial credit crisis and more stringent guidelines, mortgages are available for those that have a reasonable amount of debt, have good credit scores, and are and have been employed for a set period of time. Especially for first-time buyers, incentives and programs exist that will greatly assist in purchasing a home.
Misconceptions abound pertaining to current financing. I want to address these misconceptions and name the mistakes I most commonly hear and see first-time buyers make. I hope by tackling these issues, that home buying novice is saved aggrevation, time, and money.
Maybe the most important point I wish to make to first-time buyers is this ... if you are thinking of buying now or in the future ... seek advice from a professional mortgage banker. They will work hand-in-hand with you to establish credit if you have no documented credit history. They will also help you get your credit back on track if poor credit scores are presently involved. If you don't know what your credit score is, they can assist you by running a credit report. I, and many others, offer this service free of charge. Having a plan for the future and getting started towards implementation is much easier to accomplish with professional guidance and assistance.
If you just graduated from college, you have college bills, your job history is short, or you think your salary isn't enough to qualify for a loan do not let it deter you from contacting your professional lender and starting the process. A qualified lender can recommend actions, options, and/or programs that may help in the future, will move you closer to buying, or actually get you in a home now. Again, working with a professional lender is key. Together you can discover what options are presently available to you or if you'd be better served by taking a more long-term approach.
"I need to have 20% down on my property", is a sentiment still commonly expressed. The assumption that you need a large down payment is wrong! The fact is ... most americans cannot save fast enough to keep up with inflation, even now. It's also a fact that historically, buying a home has been a beneficial investment. Recently, many counties and cities have been stepping in and assisting in the local housing market by offering "stimulus packages" aimed at getting foreclosed homes off the market and into the possession of new home buyers. The federal government is also assisting through their new tax-credit plan for first-time homebuyers. The point is, that options and programs exist that can possibly help you in a purchase. But, unless you start the process, you will not ever know if you can reap the benefits from them.
Many times, first-time home buyers believe that they can save big dollars by looking at "For Sale by Owner" properties. You must remember, buyers don't pay the commission on a sale. Having an advocate and real estate professional on your side protecting your interests during showings and negotiations is a very smart step to take. Trying to deal with home owners, listing agents, lenders, attorneys, and more can actually end up costing you money and valuable time.
Searching for that perfect home all on your home can be a daunting task. Doing the preliminary fact-finding by researching newspapers, taking drives, and checking online sources can be informative, helpful, and prepare you for your upcoming home search. To go any further on your own can be extremely frustrating, costly, and tiresome because you and only you are taking on the entire process's burdens. How many of us have the time or are prepared to do the search, write a contract, secure financing, clear up details, attend the closing alone, and possibly more?
Again, I want to stress ... call your professional mortgage lender before you begin your home buying process. Avoid as many missteps and misconceptions as possible. Especially for first-time buyers, having this experienced, knowledgeable professional at their side is crucial. These professionals can assist in many critical ways and make the American Dream a reality for you.
Gene Mundt, Professional Mortgage Banker www.genemundt.com Chicago Bancorp