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First Time Home Buyer Tips

Buying a home for the first time is a huge step! But like with any big moves, there are some major things to know ahead of time. Here are the most crucial.

#1 Lower Down Payments Aren’t Good

Sure, some lenders allow you to put as little as 3% down these days, but the lower you go, the higher the mortgage. Also, it may mean having to pay for private mortgage insurance.

That being said, for the record, even a low down payment can be a lot, depending on the house. 5% doesn’t seem like much, but it is when you consider an average home is now roughly $400,000.

Start saving early. It will make a world of difference.

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#2 Check Your Credit

We all know that credit is a huge factor when buying a home. It will determine whether you get approved for a mortgage loan.

But did you know that in order to keep your score from dipping after you’ve applied for a mortgage, you should avoid opening any new credit accounts like credit cards, or auto loans?

The reason for this is that most loan providers will assume you’re living paycheck to paycheck. And that’s not good for anyone. It puts your home in jeopardy, something too many people have to deal with these days.

#3 There’s Types to Homes & Neighborhoods

It’s no secret that when buying a home, all you can look at is the house and neighborhood. Whether it’s in a decent area, whether the house is 2 floors, or more, etc.

But have you ever stopped to think about your place within that context? Just because it seems nice, doesn’t mean you’ll quite like it there. What if the schools aren’t the best for your children? Or what if it looks great in theory, but as it turns out, it’s very close to the city, so it’s noisy?

Think about factors that would impact your daily life, and then decide if something is right for you.

#4 Get A Preapproval Letter

If you’re serious about buying a home, you talk to mortgage lenders, sure. But if you want to be a cut above other buyers, you get a preapproval letter. This serves as a confirmation of how much you’re approved to borrow, and essentially reduces the real estate office’s workload.

It’s one of those things you technically don’t outright need, but it certainly comes in handy. At least consider it, especially if competition is fierce.

#5 Buy Less Than What You Can Afford

That’s right, in case of emergencies. Say you’re approved for $500,000, stick to homes in the $300,000 to $400,000 range instead.

It may seem like a waste of money you’ve already been approved for, but that’s just the ceiling. Those $500,000 are the top end, and do not account for any mishaps. If the dishwasher breaks and you have to spend $3k to replace it, you’re fine if you settle for a home that’s on the cheaper side.

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#6 Ask All the Right Questions

An open house is set up so you notice all the good things about a home. They win you over with little o'devours and mood lighting. But… you should really be snooping to find the hidden secrets they don’t want you finding out until later.

Ask when things were last replaced, such as the AC unit, or heating. Check for any smells, stains (especially on ceilings), or damages to the actual property. How are the kitchen appliances looking, and would they require replacement in the near future?

In other words, don’t look at what they want you too. Stare at the things they don’t want you noticing. If the issues aren’t too serious, and you’re still interested, you can always work on the listing price, adjusted for what you find.

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