Nancy Asks… I am looking to buy my first home. What things should I be aware of as a first time homebuyer?

Buying your first home will without a doubt is a learning experience. Sometimes the process involves much more than you will initially anticipate. You must get approved for a mortgage, utilize real estate and mortgage professionals, search for a home fit for you, and maintain a budget. So to avoid some frustrations follow these five tips. They are sure to make the entire home-buying process more enjoyable for you.

Your costs are more than just paying mortgage payments. Keep a realistic budget in mind.  There are extra costs associated with owning a home and they include property taxes & insurance, HOA dues, property maintenance, and utilities such as water and electric, cable and phone.  Prepare for the long term when it comes to owning a home and be sure that you have some cash on hand to cover the expenses.

Loan approval 1st and home selection later. Unless you plan on paying cash for your home, you must get approved for a mortgage. For many people, mortgage qualification is stressful because they fear that they will not get approved for as large of a loan as they desire or the process is daunting so they simply start property shopping and hope that everything works out when they find property they love. This is exactly what NOT to do. Get approved for a loan with your lender and then start the house hunting process. This way you know exactly what you can afford and won’t waste time looking at properties that aren’t in your price range.

Utilize real estate and mortgage professionals. Don’t go it alone, we are here to help you. Seek out a trusted real estate agent and mortgage professional to be your lending hand throughout this process. When making one of the largest financial decisions of your life you will want to adhere to the advice and expertise of the professionals.

Your entire savings shouldn’t be a down payment. If you have enough money in savings to put more than a 20% down payment on a home, do it. But if your entire savings is going towards the down payment, please think twice. A new mortgage qualification will require you have some assets left over after the purchase in your savings account to cover those additional costs mentioned above!

DO NOT spend any money prior to closing Many people celebrate their approval for a loan or their signing of a contract by spending money on their “to-be” new home. Please DO NOT as it will jeopardize the loan approval and if the lender sees that your financial situation has changed leading up to the day of the closing the loan can be declined. This means no new furniture, appliances or cars until everything is finalized, you have signed your name and have the key to your new home in hand!

Meet Cheryl!

About Cheryl

As a successful business owner and community leader, Cheryl Braunschweiger is known and respected for getting things done with a degree of skill and enthusiasm that bring out the best in those around her - colleagues, clients and friends. The name of her business, ALMC Mortgage, reflects Cheryl's philosophy and personality. She says it stands for All Loans Must Close –a reflection of her determination to do whatever it takes to serve her clients. Cheryl has been in the mortgage lending business for 20 years. Read More About Cheryl
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