Thinking about buying a house? First-time homebuyers face a daunting task when it comes financing their starter homes. Here are some tips to help the process run smoothly.
1. Start Planning Early
Don't wait until your lease is up to decide whether you plan on buying a home. A person's home is often the single largest asset he or she owns. And that takes time to put together. Start planning 6 months to 1 year before you need to move out. In the months leading up to the sale you should:
- Save for a down payment. There are more loan options available if you have funds available for a down payment and closing costs.
- Check your credit score. A bad credit score can cut you off from mortgage options. Make sure there are no errors or fraudulent activity on your report. Then work to pay down your debt and build your available credit.
- Track your expenses. You need to know where your money is going and how much you can afford to pay for mortgage payments, insurance, and utilities. Track your expenses to see where you can trim the fat, and how much you have available to commit to your home.
- Establish a steady of income. Stability is key in proving your ability to pay a home loan. Try not to change jobs in the year leading up to your move. If you are self-employed or a commissions-only sales person, start gathering information to prove your income.
2. Identify Your Housing Priorities
A lot of variables affect home prices. Location, square footage, lot size, and amenities can all drive the price up. Before they decide to buy, first-time homebuyers should identify their “must have” priorities in a home, and what they can live without.
3. Know What You Can Afford
Don't fall in love with a home you can't buy. Before heading out to shop for homes, use a mortgage calculator to figure out what your monthly payment might be. Remember that you will also be responsible for annual property taxes and homeowners insurance, as well as any repairs or renovations that need to be done on the property. Don't forget to budget for maintenance and upkeep as well, so a broken appliance doesn't push your credit to the max.
4. Consider All Your Options
There is no one mortgage program this is perfect for everyone. Most first-time homebuyers finance their home with an FHA loan. But conventional mortgages, VA loans, and other mortgage programs are also available. Be sure to speak with an independent mortgage broker about all of your financing options to find your best deal.
5. Get Pre-Approved
The strongest offer is one that is already backed by financing. Before you fall in love with a home, take the time to obtain pre-approval through Mortgage First Approval. This process will ensure that there is a loan ready when it is time to make an offer.
Buying your first home is a big step. But with careful planning, and the help of an independent mortgage broker, you will be financially ready when it comes time to put your money down and pick up your keys. Contact First Securities Mortgage, or fill out our online application to get started today.