Posted by: dagmarsands | October 2, 2015

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Are you looking to purchase your first home in this last quarter of 2015 or in 2016? Here are some things to keep in mind:

Your monthly payment is not just the mortgage; it includes taxes, insurance, and interest. Other outlays include utilities, HOA fees, and maintenance.

There are currently loans available to first-time buyers for as little as 3% down.

Rents have been escalating recently. In many areas of the country it is more economical to buy a 3-bedroom house than to rent a similar size apartment.

The bank will tell you how much house you can qualify for. If you’re planning to switch jobs soon or have a baby, consider staying below the maximum the bank will lend you.

Most agents won’t take you to view houses unless you have a pre-approval letter from the bank. This indicates that you are serious about buying a home.

If you are obtaining an FHA loan, it may be more practical to buy a single-family home rather than a condo.

If you are handy around the house, ask your lender about HomeStyle loans, which can be based on the home’s value after improvements are completed.

Will a friend or family member be offering you a cash gift? This can be used towards a down payment or closing costs, but be sure to follow protocol with your lender.

Check out the neighborhood to get a feel for its “flavor”, talk to some residents, and even try a practice commute to your workplace during rush hour so you’ll know what will be in store for you.

The quality of local schools can greatly affect a home’s value and resale potential. Consider this even if you don’t have kids.

Things not to do before and during the loan process: buy a car, check your credit score, get a new store credit card, or close an account.

Allow your realtor to negotiate any issues found during the home inspection.

Look forward to a tax break; both mortgage interest and PMI are tax-deductible.

Owning a home is a lot of work; things break, leak, make weird noises, and crumble. You always have the option of fixing it yourself or calling someone to do repairs for you.

All in all, interest rates are still low so it’s a great time to venture into home ownership!

Dagmar Sands
Broker, Real Estate International
International Real Estate Broker


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