Welcome back! I am so excited for today’s post, because I feel that this is the most crucial thing that people are afraid of when purchasing a home, understanding the MONEY! Making a huge purchase for hundreds of thousands of dollars is a huge deal, and can seem scary. But with the right knowledge and planning, you can be a homeowner!
When you take the first step and speak to an experienced realtor, often times they will send you the number for a lender to go get “pre-approved”. This is the first step in the financial process. But let me explain:
A lender is a licensed professional who will check your credit and the funds you have available in your bank account, to determine the loan amount you will be pre-approved for. Let me break that down even more. The lender is the guy that locates the money for you to purchase the home, so they have to check your finances and see how much their company or investors are willing to loan you. This will give you a good price range of homes that you should be looking at. This is a really helpful tool, so that you can adjust your expectations before going to look at property. If you have seen any episode of House Hunters, you know that they will almost always show them a home that’s “a little over their budget”. When you get pre-approved and know upfront, you don’t have to worry about the heartbreaking feeling when you find your dream home for $100,000 more than you are approved for.
Having a lender pre-approve you for a certain amount is definitely the first step, but you will also want to consider what cash portion you should have readily available for your purchase. A lot of people believe that you must put down 10 percent when purchasing a home, which is not the case. Many lenders have down payment assistance programs that could allow you to put down as little as 3%! Also, if you happen to be a veteran, you are qualified to purchase using a VA loan which allows you to purchase a home with 0% down. AND, as long as it is only used on one home at a time, you can use a VA loan for the rest of your life! Another popular first time home buyer loan is a USDA loan. This loan allows you to buy a home with ZERO down payment! Now, this loan is only available in “rural areas”, but you can go to this website to see if a particular address qualifies: https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do
There are other costs associated with purchasing a home called closing costs. This is a combination of things such as insurance payments, lender fees, title company fees, etc. Speaking to a lender will better equip you to understand the amount of closing costs you should expect to pay based on your budget. One big thing that is helpful to first time buyers, is the fact that in your contract, you can actually ask that the seller’s pay a portion of your closing costs. This is something that your realtor can walk you through if you choose to make an offer on a home.
Buying a home for the first time can seem scary, and let’s be honest, EXPENSIVE. But, everyone who owns a home, bought their first home at some point. There are many, many ways a lender and a realtor can help you as a first time home buyer. Even if you don’t think you can buy a home at this point, it doesn’t hurt to speak to a lender who can lay out all of your options. Here are some lenders that will be able to help you:
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