Making the Move That's Right for You: First-time Homebuyer

Buying a home is one of the single biggest purchases people make in their lives.  Depending on where you are in life and what your circumstances are, you might have the opportunity to buy and/or sell a home multiple times in your life.

Over the next two weeks we will take a look at the pitfalls to avoid and best moves to make depending on your current stage of life.  Regardless of whether you're a young family just staring out, a growing family looking for more elbow room, or empty-nesters ready to downsize into something that's easier to take care of and is more your style, we'll show you how to find the perfect home at the right price for you!

First-time Homebuyers: Challenges and Advantages

For most first-time homebuyers, your current circumstances will typically find you as being recently graduated, just starting out in a new career and possibly, newly married.  Because of this, you're likely to bring less cash to the homebuying table at this point than you will in years to come.  You also are more likely to be carrying a large student loan debt.

However, unlike most perspective homebuyers, you have the advantage of being flexible because you aren't dependent on selling your current home.  Furthermore, your situation could allow you to qualify for a number of first-time homebuyer programs.  Yay you!

First-time Homebuyers: Preparing for Your Home Purchase

Your number one strategy for home buying success?  Planning!  Once you understand the things you need to do in order to be best prepared, you'll find that purchasing your new home will be a snap!

  • Financial Bootcamp: First things first, you'll want to get your finances in order.  The two best things you can do from a financial standpoint are to clean up any issues or blips you might have on your credit report and save for the biggest down payment possible.  Doing this could put you in a position for a better mortgage rate.  You can check your credit for free annually at or monthly on (truly, both are actually free).  Ideally you'll want your credit score at a 700 or above and your credit card debt paid down as low as possible.  Also, plan for putting at least 20 percent down on your new home.
  • Mortgage Alternatives:  If you're unable to get your credit score above 700 or you just can't figure out how to come up with 20 percent to put down on your new home, explore the FHA home loan options.  These programs are great for first-time homebuyers and typically only require 3.5 percent down.
  • Build a Squad: This is a huge milestone in your life and the process will come with tons of regulations, laws and documentation, so odds are this is a process you won't want to attempt to tackle alone.  Find a Realtor that has a great reputation and that after meeting them, you have a connection and a feeling of trust with them.  Your Realtor will be able to recommend a financial planner, should you need one, and a mortgage broker.  This team will become your Mortgage Squad and will be the group you look to for guidance and support throughout the home purchase process.
  • Prepare for Battle:  Before you set foot in your first open house, make sure you are properly prepared for battle!  Homes move quickly in today's market and you don't want to miss a single beat.  Make sure you are pre-approved or pre-qualified if possible.  This way, when you do find that perfect home, you'll be able to make an immediate offer and won't waste valuable time.  And when you make your bid, make sure you play up your flexibility --- maybe the seller needs a faster close or perhaps they need an additional month; being flexible and not dependent on having to sell a home of your own before you move in to your new house will actually give you an advantage over more seasoned home buyers.

When you come prepared, you'll discover that you actually have much more going for you and your first-time homebuyer status than you realized.  Your preparedness and agility will allow you to move much quickly through the process and into your dream of home ownership.


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