As a first-time homebuyer you may have many unknowns as you think about purchasing your first home. The biggest challenges are finding where to start and what steps to follow along the process. Here is a list of 7 first-time homebuyer tips that will help you and anyone navigate different aspects of the home buying process.
1. Get Pre-Approved Before You Look
Don’t fall in love with a house you can’t afford. Talk to a loan officer before you start looking for a home and get pre-approved; that way you’ll know your price range before finding that perfect home. We will give you an approval letter that will show agents and sellers you are a serious buyer when it comes time to make an offer, speeding up your loan processing time.
2. Down Payments Determine Your Options
Now is the time to save for a down payment. The amount you put down will determine several factors. If you have a 5% down payment there are good loan options for you, but you will also need mortgage insurance. If you have 20% down, that mortgage insurance payment isn’t necessary. We even have zero down loan options if you meet certain qualifications. Our loan officers can help find the best program to meet your needs.
3. Real Estate Agents are Your Friend
They work on your behalf. Real estate agents are familiar with the local market and can help find homes with your specifications and in your price range. They negotiate in your best interest. Agents will help submit an offer that is best for you, including any conditions that you must have. They will also negotiate your contract, to make sure you don’t go beyond what you can afford. Best of all as a buyer they are free; they get paid by the seller, not you.
4. Location, Location, Location
You need to love your home’s location just as much as the house itself. Take a look at the neighborhood; drive by at different times of day so you get a real feel for the location. Find out what school district boundaries you are in and how close stores are. These things may not be important to you, but will be if you ever decide to sell.
5. An Inspection Will Save You
Have you found a house already? Don’t forget a home inspection. Even if the house looks perfect on the outside, there could be problems lurking beneath the surface that you won’t know about. There could be a crack in the foundation or the furnace could be going out. Invest a little to save a lot. An inspection ranges from $300 to $500, but it could save you from making a $300,000 mistake.
6. You Have Credit – Don’t Use It
You are buying a home, but now is not the time to buy stuff to fill it with. Don’t take on any new debt during the loan process. This could be anything like buying new furniture for your home on a credit card or financing a new car. Acquiring new debt will alter your debt ratios and can disrupt or compromise your mortgage. If you have questions about this, give us a call. If anyone has recently pulled your credit for a loan, it will show up. Make your purchases after the loan closes!
7. It’s a Big Decision – Don’t Settle
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life; don’t settle for a home you’re not in love with. As you look at a property and it’s quirks you might keep saying to yourself, “I can live with that”. Don’t keep saying that over and over again because one day you’ll wake up and regret your purchase. The home is yours now; you can’t take it back to the store and exchange it. Make certain that it’s the right fit for you. Of course there will be a couple of things you may not like, but a couple of things to fix won’t keep you up at night. Don’t get frustrated if you have to look at 17 different homes before you find the right one, it will be worth it, trust us.
First Colony Mortgage has been a trusted Utah lender since 1984. They have helped over 30,000 residents realize their dream of owning their own home. They strive to build lasting relationships with borrowers, builders and Realtors by providing a complete range