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5 Tips for First Time Homebuyers

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5 Tips for First Time Homebuyers March 08, 2024 Mortgage 101

Are you considering taking the exciting step of buying your first home? Congratulations! Owning a home is a significant milestone, but it can also be a complex process, especially when it comes to getting a mortgage. As a first-time homebuyer, navigating the world of mortgages might seem overwhelming, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can set yourself up for success. Here are five essential tips to guide you through the process of getting a mortgage:

Check Your Credit Score and Improve if Necessary

One of the first things lenders will look at when considering your mortgage application is your credit score. A higher credit score typically means better interest rates and more favorable loan terms. Before you start house hunting, check your credit report for any errors and take steps to improve your score if needed. Paying down existing debts and making payments on time can help boost your score over time.

Get Pre-Qualified Before House Hunting

Before you start attending open houses and falling in love with properties, it’s wise to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This involves submitting an application to a lender who will review your financial situation and credit history to determine the amount they’re willing to lend you. Being pre-qualified shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer and gives you a clear idea of your budget, making the house hunting process more focused and efficient.

Understand Your Budget and Affordability

While a lender may approve you for a certain loan amount, it’s crucial to understand what you can comfortably afford. Consider not just the mortgage payments but also other homeownership costs such as property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and potential homeowners association (HOA) fees. Creating a detailed budget will help you determine a realistic price range for your new home.

Compare Different Mortgage Options

There is no one-size-fits-all mortgage, so it’s essential to explore the various options available to you. The two primary types of mortgages are fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). A fixed-rate mortgage offers stable monthly payments over the life of the loan, while an ARM may have lower initial rates but can change over time. Additionally, consider the loan term—common options are 15-year and 30-year mortgages. Compare interest rates, terms, and fees from multiple lenders to find the best fit for your financial situation.

Save for a Down Payment and Closing Costs

Saving for a down payment is one of the most significant hurdles for many first-time homebuyers. While a 20% down payment is often recommended to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), there are loan programs available that require lower down payments, such as FHA loans (typically 3.5% down) or VA loans (for eligible military members with no down payment). In addition to the down payment, don’t forget about closing costs, which can range from 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price. Saving for these expenses in advance will prevent last-minute financial stress.

Buying your first home and obtaining a mortgage is an exciting journey, but it’s essential to approach it with careful planning and consideration. By checking your credit, getting pre-approved, understanding your budget, comparing mortgage options, and saving for upfront costs, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed decisions and find the right mortgage for your needs. Remember, working with a knowledgeable real estate agent and mortgage lender can also provide valuable guidance throughout the process. With these tips in mind, you’ll be one step closer to achieving the dream of homeownership. Reach out today to learn more!

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Welcome to the Borrower Portal! This is your access point to get pre-qualified, send/receive documents, and eSign Disclosures.

Click ‘Access Borrower Portal’ below if you are:

  • Logging in to an existing account to continue with your pre-qualification.
  • Logging in to an existing account to send/receive documents, or eSign Disclosures.
  • Logging in to complete the email verification process.

Click ‘Find a Loan Officer’ below if you are:

  • Creating a new account to get pre-qualified
  • Signing into an existing account to get pre-qualified

Once on the desired Loan Officer’s page, click ‘Get Pre-Qualified’ to begin.

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