By Levi Walker, Mortgage Loan Originator
Okay, so you are a first time home buyer and you’re tired of paying your landlords mortgage, couch surfing with friends, or ready to move out of your paternal basement. What do you do and where do you even begin?
“Don’t I need to have a 740 credit score and a down payment?” “I heard that I have to be working at my current job for over 10 years before I could get a mortgage!” Not Necessarily.
Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely a great idea to strive for the highest credit score you can, and it will also benefit most people to put down as much as is comfortable to them, however, neither of those old age adages is an absolute must these days.
As a first time homebuyer, you may have access to some loan programs that will allow low down payments and have flexible credit and income requirements. There are also some down payment assistance and grant programs available that will differ from state to state.
Where to begin?
My first recommendation would be to speak with a Mortgage Lender before reaching out to a realtor and viewing homes. It can be fun to look and browse for homes online but because your ability to purchase a home will hinge on your ability to find a loan that works for you, it is better to make what we call the Pre-Qualification process your first step. Each first time home buyer will have their own unique goals and financial situation.
What is a Pre-Qualification and why is it important?
The Pre-Qualification is one of the most important steps to purchase a home, especially for a first time home buyer. This is the process of working with a Mortgage Lender to go through your goals for your purchase. Those could be things like, how much you want your monthly payment to be, the purchase price you are hoping for, the amount of time you see yourself living in your first home, and how much money you have available to use for down payment and closing costs.
Through Pre-Qualification the lender will help to:
- Go over your goals for your first home purchase
- Complete an initial application to collect your basic information
– Name, date of birth, residence and employment history for the last 2 years, etc.
- Take a look at your credit and review your scores and history
- Verify income
– Paystubs and W2’s (typically)
- Go through available loan products that will best suit your goals and needs
- Issue a Pre-Qualification Decision with Pre-Qual Letter and a working purchase budget
Pre-Qualification is all about the preparation and due diligence. It will give you confidence knowing that you are Pre-Qualified to purchase and strengthen your offers when you begin to look for homes with a Realtor. It will also help your Realtor make sure that they are only showing you homes within your budget and not wasting your time with properties that will not fit your needs. A Pre-Qualified buyer is a strong buyer! Click here to get started with your pre-qualification request >>
We’re Your Advocates
Your Mortgage Lender and your Realtor are your advocates through the process of purchasing your first home. It is our collaborative effort to help you accomplish your goals and ensure that your interests are protected. This is why it is so important to work with someone you can trust and lean on our expertise to help guide you through buying your first home.
Tips for success through the process:
- Contact a LOCAL Mortgage Lender to help you get started on the Pre-Qualification process BEFORE beginning to search for homes.
- Be upfront with your Lender and Realtor to make sure you communicate your goals and expectations so that they may best serve you through your purchase.
- There are no stupid questions! Ask and ask often.
- No home is a perfect home.
– You will see some real doozies. Keep in mind that paint, carpet, light fixtures, and upholstery can all be changed and tailored to your taste and style.
– Customizing your home is half of the fun!
– There will always be that one thing that you wish were different – try to focus on what each home has to offer and how it checks off boxes in your “needs list.”
- The right home will be right for you – when you get the one, it will feel like the one.
- Take your Realtor and your Lenders advice.
– We are your advocates! Ultimately it will be your decision to choose what to do but keep in mind that your Lender and Realtor are here to help.
- Be smart with your money and spending during the process.
– Avoid making any large deposits or moving money around.
– Do not go on vacation during the process of buying a home.
– Avoid opening any new credit accounts and taking out any loans.
– Always, always, always ask your lender or realtor first.
- Be open minded and keep good communication between all parties.
This should be fun right!?
Trust in your advocates and they will ensure that you have an exciting and fun experience buying your first home!