10-Step Program for First-Time Homebuyers
If you’re searching for a first-time homebuyer program, it’s important to find a process that is simple and clear. Purchasing a home for the first time is a significant event, so it’s also a process that requires you to be well-informed and careful.
In an article by award-winning writer Gina Roberts-Grey, she outlined the top 10 steps all first-time home buyers must consider before taking the plunge:
- “Review your financial health”—Before you dive into listings and open houses, it’s vital that you evaluate your financial situation. This ranges from your savings to your bills to your 401k; you need to be sure you can afford the expense.
- “Check into benefits for first-time home buyers”—You can discover options, including tax benefits, that can make the property more affordable. Look into what deals you can find as a first-time homebuyer.
- “Meet with lenders”—Meet with lenders and present your financial and benefit findings. A lender will assess your credit score and the amount you can qualify for on a loan and will discuss your assets (savings, 401(k), etc.) and debt, as well as any local programs that might be available for down payment assistance.
- “Shop around for a mortgage”—As you’re searching for pre-approval, don’t take the first offer. Spend time looking at what different lenders can offer. And keep in mind that “pre-approved” and “pre-qualified” are two different things.
- “Have a backup lender”—Many factors can affect whether or not your mortgage application is approved, including market changes and shifting guidelines. A backup lender that qualified you for a mortgage loan can give you an alternate way to keep the process on, or close to, schedule.
- Find a realtor—If you’ve reached this step, congratulations. This means you’re ready to find a real estate agent. When you’re looking for a realtor, it’s best to look for one who works with a team of people who can offer suggestions about home inspectors, insurance agents, etc.
- Decide on a neighborhood—Narrow your search area to help give you a better idea of what you want and can afford. Two primary factors to consider are neighborhood taxes and length of commute to work.
- When you find a property, crunch your numbers again—At this step, you’ve found your dream home and are considering to make an offer. This means you need to reevaluate your budget once more. This time, you’ll factor in:
- Closing costs, moving expenses, and any immediate home repairs and appliances you may need before you move in.
- Hidden costs such as the home inspection, home insurance, property taxes, homeowners association fees and more.
- Look over utility bills—Many first-time home buyers are moving from rentals that use less energy and water than a larger new home will. It’s important to prepare for higher costs, especially the first round that includes start-up service fees. It is recommended that you “request energy bills from the past 12 months to get an idea of the average monthly cost” before making an offer.
- Don’t forgo a home inspection—Once your offer is accepted, it’s important you “splurge for a home inspection.” A home inspection can make a huge difference for your final purchase decision; it may also potentially give you leverage for a lower offer “depending on the results of the inspection report.”
Find the Right First-Time Homebuyer Program for You at First Bank
These ten program steps can help any first-time home buyer find and purchase a home with as little stress as possible. At First Bank Mortgage Center, we assist first-time home buyers by providing you with all the information and tools you need.
From finding the best mortgage for your needs to actually calculating how much your monthly mortgage payment would be, our experts work with you every step of the way. Request a free personal mortgage consultation, or apply online today!