If you’ve never purchased a home before, the process can be intimidating and overwhelming. Yes, this is a very exciting time, with a lot of planning, dreaming, and envisioning your future. It is also easy to get lost in a sea of confusion on topics like “First Time Home Buyer Programs”, “how much to save for a down payment” and “how to find the perfect home”. Working with an agent experienced in first-time home buying will be a great help. This blog will also give you support and resources for making your first home the best experience possible.
The best time to focus on getting out of debt, improving your credit score, and developing a good debt:income ratio is with the goal of home ownership to strive for. The better your financial picture is, the more likely you are to qualify for First-Time Home Buyer programs and get excellent financing terms. These advantages will be very beneficial in the long term.
Decreasing debt will also not only make it easier to qualify for a mortgage, but with less of your income going to interest payments, the more money will be available for household items and savings for emergency repairs.
Develop a budget based on current income and expenses. As a general rule, your mortgage payment shouldn't exceed 25% of your monthly net income. Ideally that mortgage payment should incude the cost of any taxes, insurance, and HOA fees. Using these figures, you can figure out how much house you can afford. Tools like this mortgage calculator can give you a good start, but your agent can also help you to know how to factor in taxes and insurance for our area. That is why it is so important to work with an agent who has the resources to ease your way into home ownership.
Most of us won’t be able to save enough to buy a house outright, but a 10-20% down payment should be our saving goal.Some First-Time Home Buyer programs offer assistance with this, but it's always good to have what you need before starting the home buying process.
There are many different types of mortgages on the market. They each have advantages and disadvantages. If you need to keep monthly payments low you may have to stretch out the loan period, but this means you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. If you are a veteran, you may want a VA loan, but be mindful of fees and restrictions associated with that product. A mortgage professional should be able to give you all the information you need to make an informed choice. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend some people to get you started on the mortgage path.
Now that you know your price range, you’ve been pre-qualified, and your down payment is secured, start looking for homes in neighborhoods you like. Go to open houses, search community data online, and start making a prioritized list of yes’s and no’s, must-have’s, and likes and don’t likes. Doing this leg work will make the home search go much more smoothly.
There are a lot of real estate agents in the Manassas and Prince William area. Especially as a first-timer, you should work with one you can trust to have the experience and dedication to assist you in the most significant purchase of your life. At B & G Real Estate Services, we’ve worked with many, many home buyers, including a lot of first-timers. Over the 20+ years of helping people buy and sell homes, we’re the ones to help you start your new home journey. Much of this first experience will have an impact on home ownership for years to come. Please let us know if you are ready to start down the home ownership road for the first time. We're here to help all along the way.