Five Tips for First-time Homebuyers

Buying your first home doesn’t have to be stressful. These tips will help make the process easier.

The process of buying a home can seem daunting, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. To help alleviate your fears, Academy Mortgage offers these five tips for purchasing and financing your first home.

1. Choose a local mortgage lender with a brick-and-mortar office.

Despite what popular television commercials will lead you to believe, securing home financing online is not a recommended approach. Online lenders may tease you with low interest rates and quick closing times on their websites, but often what they promise is not what they deliver.

It is always best practice to call a local mortgage lender and sit down in person with a Loan Officer to talk about the most current rates and programs available to first-time homebuyers. A local lender will know the ins and outs of your market and will be equipped to handle your entire loan transaction in-house, from processing to closing. A local Loan Officer will also be readily available to answer any question or concern you may have.

Academy is a direct lender, with more than 300 branch offices located across the United States. Click here to find the branch nearest you.

2. Get pre-qualified.

Before beginning your home search, it is strongly encouraged that you get pre-qualified for a home loan to save you time, energy, and frustration later in the loan process.

The primary advantage of pre-qualification is that you will know how much you can afford to spend on a home based on your debt, income, and credit. Pre-qualification also gives you an idea of what your total investment (closing costs, down payment, etc.) will be and how the estimated monthly payment will fit in your budget.

3. Work with a real estate agent.

Finding and buying a home will be less worrisome and much less stressful working with a real estate agent. A real estate agent can find all of the available properties in your area through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and will sift through the listings to find the properties that best meet your needs and wants. Once you find the home for you, a real estate agent then negotiates with the seller on your behalf to get you the best deal possible.

In this day and age, many of us rely on real estate websites, like Zillow, for estimates of what a property is worth. While a good starting point, the information on these sites may be inaccurate. A real estate agent can get you a much more accurate portrayal of the true investment you are making.

A real estate agent can also help you look at the big picture of buying a home: resale value, schools, etc. These factors can be tough for first-time homebuyers to envision as it’s easy to focus only on the here and now.

4. Make a decision!

It is understandable for first-time homebuyers to be hesitant about purchasing their first home—likely the largest investment they have ever made. In this competitive real estate market with low inventory and high buyer turnout, heed the advice of your real estate agent. You may need to act quickly in order to get the house that you want.

5. Don’t take any actions that will impact your buying power before or during the loan process.

Taking out a loan for a major purchase, opening a new credit account, maxing out a credit card….all of these actions can negatively impact your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), a huge criteria in qualifying for home financing.

Your DTI is your recurring monthly debt divided by your monthly gross income. Most first-time homebuyers have no idea what their DTI is and, in turn, don’t know that it affects their buying power when looking for a home. Any extra costs, such as car payments, increase this number. The lower the number, the better.

Academy Mortgage specializes in helping first-time homebuyers attain the dream of homeownership. There are many loan programs designed specifically for first-time homebuyers, and our Loan Officers can customize a solution for you based on your unique needs and financial situation. We commit to providing you accurate, timely, and honest mortgage advice and to maintaining continuous communication with you throughout the entire transaction.

Make Academy Mortgage your 1st CHOICE for financing your first home!

At Academy Mortgage, we create life-changing experiences through lending. CONTACT US today to explore your financing options.