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First-Time Home Buyers: Realize Your Home Ownership Dream in 2015!

First-Time Home Buyers: Realize Your Home Ownership Dream in 2015!

Does your “New Year, new you” plan include buying your first home in 2015? If it doesn’t, maybe it should; interest rates are low, the credit-lending process has become a little more navigable, home prices remain moderately priced in most markets and, for the most part, the cost of renting is on the rise.

So, if you’re a first-time home buyer who thinks they may be ready to take the leap into home ownership this year, get excited! And, of course, get prepared. Make no mistake; buying a home is traditionally the largest purchase a person will make, so it is more than understandable that the home-buying process can be a bit, well… involved.

There’s finding a home, finding an agent, finding a lender, finding your credit score, finding ways to save for a down payment, finding a good APR… and, at times in the process, finding your sanity! J

But let’s not put this home-buying resolution to rest just yet. In coming here, you can also find something else… help!

Here are a few tips for making your home-buying goals become reality in 2015:

Don’t Fear the Financials – Before you even begin to browse homes, get comfortable with your financial picture and seek mortgage pre-approval. If you don’t, you could be setting yourself up for an instant letdown when you find out that you can’t quite afford that three-story, colonial you’ve been eyeing online.

Begin your home search by searching for a lender who will be able to help you through the pre-approval process. Some lenders are now offering financing with as low as a 3% down payment, which may make a first-time home-buyer’s heart flutter! But, remember to find out what the dollar amount that you’re approved for translates to when it comes to monthly payments. From there, estimate utility costs, taxes, any HOA fees and other monthly expenses before you settle on a home price that you’re comfortable with.

Work on Your Credit – If you immediately meet a red flag when it comes to your financial situation, move “improving your credit” to the top of your 2015 resolutions list. Even when you receive pre-approval, it is important to be mindful of your credit score, as it affects ultimate mortgage approval and your APR.

How can you improve your credit score? Make sure to pay bills on time and don’t take on any new debts, like opening a credit card or buying a new car. Basically, don’t do anything that will change your financial picture, unless it lowers your debt to income ratio!

Do Your Research – Once a first-time home buyer (or any home buyer) has got the financial part out of the way, it is a bit easier to breathe during the home-buying process. You may even find yourself gleefully searching for homes that fit into your price range. Listing photos can be quite attractive; but, remember, they do not paint a home’s entire picture.

When searching for a new home, community knowledge is key, particularly for a first-time home buyer, who is new to the market. Here is where a realtor’s expertise can be vital for first-time buyers. While you’re researching homes you may like, do some research on agents in the area where you’re looking to buy. Find one who meets your needs and puts them first while you’re going through the home-buying process. When you decide on the right real estate agent, share your “ideal home” wish list with them and allow them to help you find your perfect first home.

Don’t Rush the Process – For first-time buyers, it can be easy to get excited about the first, second or every home that you look at during the home-buying process. But, that doesn’t mean you should try to buy every home that you see. Narrow your options by visiting homes that you like at varying times of the day. Pay particular attention to the neighborhood, traffic, schools and even pet population, whether you’re a dog lover or not so much of one. Finally, you will need to make sure that the home you choose checks out completely. That means it passes all inspections and legal approvals, all the while meeting your price point.

With 2015 just getting started, there is plenty of time for first time home buyers to realize their homeownership dreams this year. If you’re ready to begin searching for your first home, contact an experienced, trusted Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty professional today.