As a First Time Home Buyer, there are a few steps that you can take to ease the stress of finding the perfect home. Being a first time home buyer is intimidating and is obviously a major decision. Rather than jumping into the
market feet first, take a few moments and prepare. Here are a few preliminary steps that you can take to help make the process of finding your dream home less stressful.
- Review your credit.You are entitled to a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) once per calendar year. You can get access to this free report by going to www.annualcreditreport.com and choosing which bureau you would like to review. This will not give you your credit score, but will allow you to check your credit history. Items such as collection accounts, judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, foreclosures, late payments can all have an effect on your credit score. If there are errors it will be less stressful to get them resolved before purchasing a home, compared to during the loan process.
- Research. Before beginning your search for your dream home spend some time researching things like home prices, amenities, desired features, school district, etc. This initial research will allow you to give your realtor a clearer picture of the home you are seeking. Also included in this research is developing a budget, and using a mortgage calculator to estimate your new housing expense.
- Down Payment. The amount that you are comfortable paying for down payment could very well decide what type of mortgage you will be able to get. FHA mortgage require as little as 3.5% down payment, USDA mortgage loans require No down payment, and generally Conforming/Conventional mortgages will require 5% down. You will not want to completely drain your bank accounts for a down payment, as with homeownership you must account for maintenance costs. The trick is to figure out how much money you are comfortable parting with and determining how much money you would like to have left after closing.
These steps can make the house search and the initial loan process much simpler for you. Most new home owners speak to a Loan Officer to get help in determining what they can afford, how much they will be paying, and how much they need for a down payment. You have already accomplished all the above, and can start talking about interest rates.