First-Time Homeowner Tips to Help With Your Success
Don’t let the past couple years of a super competitive real estate market hold you back from becoming a first-time homeowner. All you need to become a successful home buyer is a kick-ass real estate agent by your side and a few other key steps we’ll tell you about below.
Don’t run yet! We know this word can be a major turnoff, but most any major purchase should start with a well-constructed budget. It seems obvious, but many people like to be blissfully ignorant on this step of the homeownership journey, and it’s just not a step we recommend skimping on.
Carefully consider your debt, income and assets. This will help you know what you can afford for a monthly mortgage payment along with property insurance, taxes, utilities and HOA fees. You’ll want to leave some extra for unexpected expenses, too.
If you still feel a little unsure on this step, the next one will help make the picture a little more clear.
As a first-time homeowner (or really anytime you’re purchasing a home), this is a step that, if missed, will halt forward progress. It’s a must-do on the path to owning a home. Before you get your hopes set on a house you may not be able to afford, it’s important to know how much house you can afford and how much someone will be able to lend you. Again, unless you are a cash buyer, this step is absolutely crucial.
If you are in the Kansas City area, we will always recommend going with our preferred lender, Meggan McDonald – Supreme Lending. She has decades of experience, is professional, efficient and personable. She also offers monthly payment and down payment calculators on her site to help you work backwards towards that budget if you need a kickstart.
Get Your Credit in Order
Your credit affects your interest rate and the type of loan you can qualify for. Beyond cash offers, a buyer with a conventional loan is usually the most desirable to a seller. To qualify for a conventional mortgage, most lenders will require you to have a minimum credit score of 620. In addition, a higher credit score means a lower interest rate which means less interest that you’ll pay over the life of your home loan. (For information on various loan types and the pros and cons of each, take a look at this blog.)
A low credit score or even no credit score won’t necessarily keep you from being able to get a home loan, it just won’t be the type of loan that comes with the same advantages as a conventional loan.
Save for a Down Payment
One of the best things a first-time home buyer can do is have a hefty downpayment saved up. Nowadays, it’s not necessarily required to have 20% to qualify for a conventional loan, but the larger the down payment, the more attractive your offer is to a lender and seller.
Having a 20% down payment also means you’ll avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is an additional charge on top of your regular monthly mortgage payment, usually about a half percent to less than 2% of your loan payment.
With the seller’s market that we’ve been in the past couple years, it means home prices have been on the rise, so that down payment has been, too. If you’re ready to become that first-time homeowner, make sure you’re doing all you can to save for a large down payment.
Work With a Top Real Estate Agent
With your pre-approval letter in hand, you’re ready to start shopping for a home! It’s so important to have the right agent on your side. You have to do your homework, ask around, interview agents, read reviews – all of these things should help lead you to the right agent that will advocate for you and know the right types of homes to send your way.
At Dani Beyer Real Estate, we pride ourselves in maintaining strong client relationships. Our buyer’s agents work hard to know their clients, set them up with a customized MLS portal, get in to see homes quickly and put together strong and fast offers to get in front of sellers. Then, with our rock solid negotiation tactics, we’re ready to go to work on securing that final contract to make you a homeowner. If you have any questions about the home buying process or feel ready to take the first steps, don’t hesitate to reach out!