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Guidelines For First Time Homebuyers

Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Buying your own home for the first time is likely to be one of the most exciting moments of your life. It is also likely to be one of the most stressful experiences. When we buy houses we are also buying into our family and community. Knowing what to expect during the process will help first time homebuyers make a decision they can feel good about for years.

Before you ever look at homes, you are going to need to get your finances in order. Mortgage lenders have very specific guidelines that they follow when approving loans. You should be establishing good credit years before you ever attempt to buy. There is a great deal of information available about raising your credit score, but what you should know essentially is that you are going to need to pay your bills on time, keep your debt ratio low, and keep a close eye on your credit report for discrepancies or errors. You will also need to be saving money for your new home. Most lenders require at least a 20% down payment on a home, so the more you can save now, the more home you will be able to purchase. You will also need to save cash for closing costs associated with the sale.

For first time homebuyers it is especially important to form a good relationship with an agent. Again, we buy houses to make a home. It makes sense to enlist an expert to help you find the right home for you and your needs. During the time that you are shopping around for your agent, you should also be doing research on current market values in your area. Develop a good mental reference of typical prices in your area. You should also find a lender to pre-approve your mortgage. You will want to visit with several lenders to find the terms that are right for you.

Finally, you are ready to begin shopping for your new home. Before you ever set foot in a property, you should have a list of needs and a list of wants. Remember, you may be in your new home for a long time. It is important that you do not confuse your needs with your wants. It is also important to make a firm budget and to stick with that. No amount of curb appeal will make up for the misery of being unable to afford the upkeep on your residence.

Once you have found a home that fits your needs and your budgets, it is time to submit an offer. Once your offer has been accepted, the next step is to arrange for a home inspection. Your offer to buy should always include a clause requiring a satisfactory home inspection. Assuming the inspection checks out, you are now ready to begin packing your things and preparing to move into your new home!