Do’s and Don’ts for First-time Homebuyers

Tuesday, July 11, 2017  

Buying your first home is an exciting, yet serious decision. It might seem intimidating to take the first step, but if you follow these tips you’ll be headed in the right direction long before you get pre-qualified for your home loan.

Do's Don'ts

Do know your credit score.

The mortgage company will pull your credit score, so you should do it first, before beginning the home buying process so you know where you stand, and can begin to make improvements.

Don't change jobs.

If you're hoping to secure a mortgage in the next 6-12 months, job stability is key. Stay in your present position until your purchase is closed, if possible. If you do get offered a job that pays more, you can probably still get your loan approved, but be prepared to jump through more hoops.

Do stay current on all existing accounts.

Keep current on all of your financial obligations while you save for your down payment and closing funds. Maintaining on-time and consistent payments prior to and until your loan closes will help you establish and maintain a good credit history.

Don't make large purchases.

Making large purchases, such as buying a new car or lots of furniture, can affect your credit and set off red flags for lenders.

Do investigate programs for buyers in your city.

Many cities and workplaces offer programs to build their communities by helping first-time homebuyers.

Don't consolidate debt.

Don't close credit card accounts that you are not using, or consolidate debt to one or two cards. These actions can negatively impact your credit history and credit score.

Do get prequalified for a home loan.

Complete an online prequalification application or make an appointment with a loan officer to get prequalified for a home loan so you will know a realistic budget before you go house-hunting.

Don't get attached to the first house you see.

It's easy to do. You fall in love with the first house you place an offer on and then are heartbroken when someone else gets it. Talk to your agent about your local market so you have realistic expectations.

Do interview real estate agents.

Ask your friends and family, and search online to find your real estate agent. You may end up interviewing several before you find one with the expertise and communication style that suits you

Don't miss an opportunity to negotiate.

In addition to price, you may be able to negotiate for repairs, a new paint job or an extended move-in/out window. Use the expertise of your real estate agent to learn what items can be negotiated.

Do identify your wants vs your needs.

Knowing the difference between what you really need and what you actually just want will help you compromise and stay on budget. You may need a certain number of bedrooms, but you want an open plan kitchen and living area.

Don't skip a home inspection.

Never skip a home inspection on your first home. You want to know exactly what your hard-earned money is buying before you buy it. Learn more about home inspections and common home problems to be on the lookout for.

First-Time Homebuyer,