Helpful Tips for New Buyers

What a great time to purchase a home. In general there is a good selection of affordable homes to choose from coupled with low interest rates. It is indeed a buyer’s market.  Below are some things to consider as you make a decision to purchase.

  • Find a good real estate agent – An agent can assist you through every step of the process from assisting you in finding the right home to getting you successfully to the settlement table and everything in-between, including where to find home inspectors and general contractors. 
  • Start looking now – There are many websites out there to assist you in your search, such as,,, and the multiple list services (MLS). All are great ways to begin the navigation process
  • Take an inventory of your savings – Experts recommend that your monthly payment should be no more than one third monthly income. However, it is important to know that the buying process will include upfront costs such as a down-payment and closing costs.
  • Down-payment – Do you know how you are going to secure these funds? Are they coming from your personal savings, from a relative as a down-payment gift, or will you need the assistance of a down-payment assistance program?  FHA loans require only 3.5 percent down. Most financial experts encourage a 20 percent down-payment. Thoroughly explore all your options.
  • Know your credit – Lenders will use your credit report to evaluate you as a borrower, closely examining your risk potential and how responsible you are as a borrower. They also use your credit score to determine your interest rate. The better your score the lower your rate. It’s important to know your credit score and to take steps to report any errors to the credit reporting agencies.
  • Prequalify and Preapproval – Talk to a lender and get a ball park figure of how much they are willing to lend you. This will help you determine what you can afford. Once this is determined get an official letter from the lender that states in writing that they are willing to lend you the money. This can work in your favor when negotiating a sales contract with the seller.
  • What can you afford – Keep in mind that you do not have to spend what the bank may be willing to loan you.  A less expensive home may better suit your financial position. You do not want to put yourself in a “house poor” position.
  • Your wish list – Once you have established your budget, create a list of what you must have in a house and then what you would like to have. This could include must have two bathrooms but would like to have two and a half
  • Location - Keep in mind that location strong affects sales prices. Make a decision on what areas or neighborhoods best fit your lifestyle and ones you like best. If your planning on residing in a larger area you might consider purchasing a map and driving through neighborhood, crossing out those that do not appeal to you.