So it’s almost a new year, and you’re ready to say goodbye to your renting days and hello to homeowner haven. But where do you begin? That part can be daunting and confusing, so we’ve compiled these Top 10 Tips to help make your first-time home buying process a smooth and successful one:

  1. Know your needs
    First examine your lifestyle, and figure out what type of locale you see yourself settling in. Urban, suburban, rural? Urban areas often provide great social, cultural and career opportunities, within a bustling city backdrop. Perhaps you’d prefer a rural landscape, with more privacy and space to roam the outdoors? Or maybe a suburban city would be ideal to raise a family and connect with your local community? Think about the lifestyle you’d like to make a home in, and narrow down which neighborhoods you’d like to consider. Drive around and visit those neighborhoods at various times of the day/week…explore nearby grocery stores, schools, talk to the neighbors. Know your needs and do your research.
  2. Know what you can afford
    To make your search most effective, carefully examine your budget and what you can afford. There’s more to consider than just monthly payments: utilities, property taxes, homeowners insurance fees, homeowners association fees (if applicable), repairs, maintenance…it all adds up so be sure to account for all costs before deciding if becoming a homeowner is right for you.
  3. Identify your potential downpayment
    Do you have 20% of your target purchase price available for a downpayment? That’s often considered the industry norm, but there are other options available. There are a variety of loan programs for various credit levels, for those who cannot afford a significant downpayment. Some mortgage programs have loans that offer a 3.5% or even zero downpayment option for veterans and active military. It’s important to note, however, that most loans that offer less than 20% down have additional insurance premiums that will add to the monthly payment.
  4. Find a local Buyer’s Agent
    A Buyer’s Agent (or Buyer’s Broker) represents the buyer’s needs and helps you locate the property that best fits your what you’re looking for. It’s best to find a local agent who has extensive experience in that neighborhood–that way they have insight into local taxes, schools and new developments, as well as the fair market value for the homes you’re considering. Doing this will help alleviate any uncertainties or stress, and make the buying process much more efficient.
  5. Get credit ready
    Buying a home may be one of the largest financial decisions you’ll ever make. Be prepared. Get a copy of your current credit report, identify any discrepancies, and get them fixed — if possible — before you talk to a lender. You can also look up your credit score ahead of time for free from Credit Karma.
  6. Hit pause on any large credit card purchases
    Avoid taking out any loans or adding significant debt to credit lines before you try to purchase a home. Large purchases, such as a car loan or lease, may impact your debt-to-income ratio. Changes to this number may affect your ability to qualify for the loan amount you require.
  7. Meet with a Lender
    This is one of the most important steps: meet with a lender to get a mortgage loan. You can’t really buy a home without one (unless you purchase it outright!) Borrowers with a high credit score (720+) can shop around for the lowest interest rate, and get a conventional loan. Those with lower credit scores (640-) may have a higher interest rate on their loan due to the larger liability for the lender, but there are still many great options available. We recommend contacting Scott Groves for a trust-worthy, well-experienced lender to help you.
  8. Demand full disclosure and a professional home inspection.
    Now you’ve found a home you’re interested in, it’s important you demand full disclosure from the seller. While most states require the home seller to disclose any potential problems with the property, they may not always know or reveal existing structural problems.The only way to truly know what’s going on inside a home’s structure is to secure the services of a reputable home inspector. Expect to pay $300-600 for the inspection. It seems steep, but consider the thousands it could save you if the home isn’t up to code or has major issues.
  9. Get it down in writing
    The best way to truly protect yourself legally is to get every detail of the sale in writing. Also it’s important you understand every aspect of the commitment–learn your real estate terminology and asks lots of questions before signing the agreement.
  10. Purchase homeowners insurance
    Once you’ve made sure the title is clear and there are no problems with you taking on ownership, make sure to purchase homeowner’s insurance. If something happens to your home or your belongings, it’s now your responsibility to take care of it–not your landlord or management company. Shop around at least 3 insurance companies, and make sure you’re not just getting the best price, but also the best value and coverage.Now you know the Top 10 Tips every First-time Home Buyer should know.  Now get out there and start shopping for your new home!Buying
    Original content provided by HGTV and Housing Wire.

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  1. Olivia Nelson - September 13, 2016

    I like your tip on considering more than just the mortgage payment when buying a home. I agree that you would also need to consider things like utilities and maintenance. My husband and I are looking for a home so we’ll have to remember to keep these extra things in our budget when we deal with pricing.

  2. Jade Brunet - October 6, 2016

    I appreciate this article about the things a first time home buyer should know. It is good to learn that finding a local buyer’s agent is a wise move. Finding someone with extensive experience would be highly beneficial. Something else to consider would be to search properties to decide where you want to move.

  3. Jalu Sakti - October 21, 2016

    I like that you talked about making sure your budget allows for the home you want. With so many other things to pay for besides just the monthly payment, it really takes a lot of planning to make sure all of these fees can be taken care of. I think a lot of first-time buyers don’t take those things into account, and it really can make things difficult later on. We are, in fact, looking for our second home, right now, and these are still things that we are struggling to keep track of. Maybe a good real estate agent could help us figure the pricing out.

  4. Danni Black - January 11, 2017

    I really like your tip about making sure that you get your credit ready when it comes to buying a home. My husband and I have been wanting to talk with a real estate agent for a while now. I think that these tips will be really helpful in getting us into our first home quickly and smoothly, thank you for sharing!

  5. Bernard Clyde - February 1, 2017

    Buying a new home can be an intimidating experience! I like that you stressed the importance of gauging out what you can put for a down payment as well as how much you can afford to pay monthly for utilities and bills together. Sometimes we can get overly focused on one or the other which can cause issues down the road staying up on payments or hurting your credit.

  6. Mark David - February 19, 2017

    Nice tips for new people who are looking to buy new home.

  7. jresquival - February 23, 2017

    That’s good to know that 20% of the purchase price is a usual down payment. I guess the market prefers people having that money to make the mortgage less risky. I guess I’ll have to start saving, since I’m trying to move out.

  8. lenny strin - February 26, 2017

    Your tips for buying new home is nice it’ll help me i am searching for new house.

  9. Scott - March 2, 2017

    I appreciate that you point out to avoid making any large credit card purchases. I can see why this might affect your ability to get approved for a loan. I am thinking about buying a house in the next year or so. I’ll have to start thinking of the things I will need and start buying them slowly over time.

  10. Silas Knight - March 14, 2017

    Thanks for the great tips for home buying! My wife and I have never bought a home before, but I think it’s time for us to start looking. I definitely agree that we need to agree on our needs, and write them down. That would narrow down our choices a lot, I would think.

  11. Maurice C - March 24, 2017

    I find this 10 tips for first time home buyers really useful for everyone. In buying a new home there just so many things to consider. Remember buying a home involves your hard earned money and you don’t want to regret it in the future when you feel not satisfied. You have to know your budget, get insurance and many more. If you need more tips please visit Conveyancer Adelaide .

  12. Ron Dayley - April 3, 2017

    Good solid advice.

    I tell my clients when comparing mortgage rates, look at everything and make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

    I had a client get an interest rate from a lender who “specializes” in military home buyers and when we compared the rates, they were .02% lower in interest rates but the monthly payments were almost $200 a month more with all their fees and add ons.

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