Being a first time home buyer can be a lot like stumbling around in the dark through a baby’s room. If you don’t completely have a handle on the landscape, you’re going to be stepping on squeaky toys, bumping your knees and perhaps get as frustrated as waking up the sleeping baby.
However, if you take some time to learn a little bit about the first time home buyer process and to understand the local real estate market, you can be ready to make that move with the lights on.
Here are some things you need to have in line before you become a first time home buyer:
- Get a handle on your credit. About a year before you’re ready to buy, you need to get a copy of your credit report as well as your credit score. Do what you can to clear up any outstanding debts, and do some research about what it takes to get your credit score up.
- Deal with your debt. Even if you have a wonderfully high credit score, you need to watch your debt. Banks are going to look at the ratio of your debt to your income and base their decision about your home loan, in significant part, on that number.
- Save up a down payment. Experts have differing opinions on exactly how much you need to save for the down payment on your your home. It also depends on the type of mortgage you’re going to get. In general, plan on needing anywhere from five to 20 percent of the purchase price to put down on your new home.
- Do some research. Know what your mortgage options are going to be. Consider getting pre-qualified for a mortgage once you’re actually ready to start looking. One of the most common first time home buyer mistakes is going into the situation without really understanding their options.
- Get an agent. You need an experienced real estate agent to help you find the home that best suits your needs and your budget. Don’t rely on the seller’s agent, and don’t even think about trying to go it alone. You will someone who works exclusively for you. An Accredited Buyers Agent, such as Kathy Jones at Giraffe Realty, has received specialized training to meet the needs of buyers today. It doesn’t cost anything to use an agent, and in the long run it will save you tons of headache and money.
If you’d like to work with Giraffe Realty, please contact us at your earliest convenience.