Top 7 Financial Tips for First Time Home Buyers
- Weigh the pros and cons of renting versus buying a home. Since there is a ton of information available on this point alone, we’ll only do a quick run through of things to consider. Remember that when you rent, you typically only pay the bills, the rent, and maybe renters’ insurance. When you buy a home you can expect to pay the bills, the “permanent rent” (A.K.A. “mortgage”), homeowners’ insurance (and, depending on where you live, you may need to get additional insurance policies for your home), and property taxes.
- Make sure you have saved enough money for the purchase. You’ll have closing costs to pay when you buy the home, and these costs will be at least four or five thousand dollars (even if you have a $0 down payment). Plus, you’ll need to pay for the upkeep of the home and any needed repairs.
- Check your credit months before you apply for a loan. An Individual's credit score will have a significant impact on his or her mortgage loan approval and interest rate. A good first step in financing a home purchase is to check your credit history. You can request a free credit report by clicking here. Carefully review your report and contact the credit reporting bureaus to correct any innaccuracies.
- Use your current budget to determine how much you think you can pay for the mortgage every month. If you know that the amount you pay for rent now is about as much as you feel comfortable paying, then make a note of that. When you talk with a home loan officer, he or she will probably ask how much you want to pay every month for your mortgage.
- Talk with home loan officers to find out what size loan you’ll be able to get. There is no way to know what price range you’ll be qualified for until you talk with lenders. Since you’ll be a first-time home buyer, you’ll find a range of possibilities for financing. Some home loan officers even specialize in helping first-time home buyers. Sometimes first-time home buyers are pleasantly surprised at how much a lender is willing to lend. This is why I said for you to find an amount you’re comfortable with before talking with the lender. If you’re not comfortable with the monthly payment you’ve received, be sure to talk with your loan officer so that you don’t spread yourself too thin!
- Be sure to get a “good faith estimate” from the loan officers that breaks down all of the costs of your mortgage. Looking at these estimates can help you to compare loans. You can also use the estimates to work in the estimated mortgage payment into your budget. Would you be able to comfortably afford your mortgage payment?
- Be sure to think about your needs versus your wants. Although you may want a house with three bedrooms, two baths, 1800 square feet, and stainless steel appliances, remember that this is going to be a first-time home. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to afford everything that you want. So, don’t get discouraged if you can’t find the home of your dreams – you can work up to that home in the coming years. For now, you may find a two bedroom townhouse in a great neighborhood with other first-time home buyers like yourself.
Article By Lee Keadle
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