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Preparing to purchase your first home can be overwhelming. From having to be confident in your creditworthiness to finding the right agent (or not) and home; it can all cause serious anxiety for first-time buyers. At ZYYAH, we make it our business to cheer our community on every step of the way when it comes to owning a home. We’ve compiled a list of a few things you can start doing right now to prepare for and work towards the purchase of your first home.
We hope this helps take the edge off and encourages you to take the next (or first) step in owning your very first home!
GET A GLIMPSE OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT
When you’re applying for a home loan, it’s crucial you have your finances and credit in good condition. For first-time homebuyers, this means having at the very least a 580 credit score (suitable for some FHA loans) or next best a 620 to start. These scores will get you a home loan secured at a rate that fits your financial picture. The higher your score, the better your interest rates, so it’s best to check your credit report and begin cleaning up hiccups in your report as soon as possible.
CHECK YOUR FINANCIAL STATUS
You don’t have to be filthy rich to become a first-time homeowner, so don’t fret. But you do need to have money in the bank to cover potential down payment and closing costs and to show lenders you’re in good financial space. Though your down payment will depend on your mortgage and lender, it’s best to begin saving as soon as you can. Some lenders only require as little as 3% down for buyers with excellent credit and many first-time homeowners can secure a 3.5% requirement for their down payment. Begin thinking about how much you intend to spend on a home or utilize a free calculator to assess how much home you can afford so you have a benchmark for saving.
SECURE A LENDER OR AGENT
Before you begin shopping for homes, you need to know just how much you can afford. That’s where your lender or agent comes in. If you have a real estate agent in mind, reach out and let them know you’re ready to begin the loan pre-approval process. Many agents already have a list of lenders they work with directly and may be able to secure you a good rate working alongside them. If you don’t have an agent or decide to decline, begin looking at lenders nationwide, locally, or at your current financial institution to start the pre-approval process. Once you know how much you’re working with, it’s far easier for you or your agent to know where you should begin looking for homes.
RESEARCH FIRST-TIME BUYER PROGRAMS
Many states and cities have programs in place that offer a wide variety of incentives to first-time buyers like lower interest rates, closing cost assistance, or even down payment assistance. You’ll want to look up programs in your area you qualify for and reach out. Many programs even provide tax breaks to first-time buyers.
KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN
Now that you’ve taken these steps, you’re prepared to get looking for your perfect home. Whether with a friend, alone, or with an agent, it’s best to keep your options open. Not only should you shop around for the best mortgage rates and programs, but you’ll also want to stay open to finding gems when you get to the point of looking for your new home.
Purchasing your first home is an exciting and sometimes stressful time. There’s a lot to accomplish before you can get to the more glamorous parts like looking at homes. But once you start getting everything working towards your goal of homeownership, you’ll find that, while sometimes overwhelming, it’s within your reach.
So what are you waiting for?! Start getting your finances together, searching for first-time homeownership programs, saving money, and carving your unique path to the home you’ve been dreaming of. And when you’ve found that home, our team at ZYYAH will be ready to provide the best insights to support your home.
Stay on the lookout for the release of the ZYYAH app so you can get personalized insights and suggestions straight to your phone!