Guide to Buying Your First Home

While there are many steps to home ownership, being prepared can help make the process smooth and enjoyable. The Brandon and Audrey Team can help you through each of the following steps to buying your first home.

Prepare Financially

In the months before you begin house shopping you will need to prepare financially for your purchase by building up your savings and improving your credit score.

You will need enough money to cover not only your down payment, but also the house inspection, closing costs, and moving expenses, including utility hookups and deposits. Most of this money will need to be in your savings before you begin the process of buying your home.

Mortgage lenders will look not only at your credit score, but also at your debt-to-income ratio. Paying down credit cards and loans without opening new lines of credit or closing accounts can help to boost your credit score and help your debt-to-income ratio.

Set A Budget

Determining how much house you can afford to buy is the first step to home ownership. What do you feel comfortable paying for your monthly mortgage? Use a spreadsheet or budget software to determine all of your expenses, including estimating the utilities on the new home. Your mortgage should be no more than 28% of your total income with no more than 30% going to all housing costs, including utilities, and Homeowners Association fees.

Make A Wish List

Decide what you need and what you want in your new home. This information will help your realtor to show you the properties that are the best fit for you and your family. Some things to consider are

  • Where do you want to live? Part of town? Certain city?
  • Do you want a certain school district?
  • How many bedrooms and baths do you need?
  • What size yard?

Knowing and prioritizing what you need and what you would like in your new home will make your search more efficient and your home ownership more enjoyable.

Mortgage Options

Will you need a conventional loan, or will you qualify for an FHA, VA, or USDA loan? What is the best rate available? The Pre-Approved amount the lender comes up with is closer to what the bank will be willing to loan you once you have all of your documentation to them, including your purchase agreement and appraisal. Stick to your budgeted price even if the Pre-Approval is for more.

Shop For Homes

The Brandon and Audrey Team will help find the best home for you based on your budget and the needs and desires you share with them. Attend Open Houses for new listings, giving the Brandon and Audrey Team your feedback on each one. Feedback on each house lets them know more of what you like and don’t like in a home. It also prevents them from scheduling a viewing on home you have already seen.

Purchase Agreements

Once you have decided on the home you want to buy, the Brandon and Audrey Team will help you to draft an offer. This offer will include all of the details of the purchase, including the price you wish to pay and any contingencies, such as a home inspection and appraisal. Once both parties agree on every term of the offer, it becomes a Purchase Agreement.

Final Steps

Once you have a Purchase Agreement, the house will need to be appraised, inspected, and homeowner’s insurance purchased. Attending the inspection is a great way to learn more about home maintenance even if the inspector doesn’t find anything wrong with the home. Once all of this is completed, you will be ready to close: to sign all of the legal papers making the home yours.

Are you ready to start your journey to home ownership? Call the Brandon and Audrey Team.