Buying a home is always a big decision, but when you’re a first-time buyer it’s even more important to get it right. Without home-buying experience to draw on, it’s easy to make mistakes you could regret for years to come.
If you’re planning to buy your first home soon, here are few tips for the first-time homebuyer to help you stay on track:
1. Know what’s on your credit report
To make sure you get the best rate possible, review your credit report regularly and adjust your habits accordingly. If you see errors on your report, alert the credit bureau, as it could improve your score.
2. Set a budget
Carefully review your finances – including your monthly income and debts – so you can get a feel for how much house you can afford.
3. Save for a down payment in advance
It takes about 6.5 years for the average American homebuyer to save for a 20% down payment, so it’s important to start saving early. A 20% downpayment is not absolutely essential, but having a bigger downpayment will lower your interest rate and reduce how much you pay over the life of the loan. So save as much as you can.
4. Understand the hidden costs of homeownership
Once you’re in your home, you’ll be responsible for more costs than just your mortgage payment. There are HOA dues, insurance, property taxes, utilities, and more. Then, of course, there’s also maintenance costs and repairs – which often come by surprise.
5. Look into programs like FHA, USDA, and VA loans
If you can only afford a small down payment, FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans can be a good option to consider. These require minimal down payments – zero in some cases – and can make buying a home a bit more affordable.
6. Get a real estate agent
While it’s entirely possible to buy a home solo, it’s not advisable – at least your first time around. An experienced agent can help you vet neighborhoods and homes, schedule tours, negotiate, draw up contracts, and more.
Ask your friends, family members, and colleagues for agent recommendations in your area too, and be sure to interview at least a few. You want to make sure they’re a good fit before deciding to work together.
If you are thinking about buying your first home, give me a call! I can help you navigate the process and I’m particularly skilled at finding good deals, even in this seller-friendly market. Call Seema Jay at 704 298 8078 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.