Four Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
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Four Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home can be one of the best or one of the worst experiences of your lifetime. Make sure you do it right.

Searching for your first home is an exciting experience. With all of the options out there today, you can often find the home of your dreams at a price you can afford. But there are many things to consider when buying your first home. Here are four tips to help you choose the home that will provide years of good memories for you and your family.

1. Work with a qualified real estate agent. Buying a home is a complicated process. Many first-time home buyers look at a real estate agent as just another unnecessary cost when buying a home. But the expertise and knowledge that a realtor can offer to you as a home buyer is priceless. The money they save you undoubtedly makes up for their commission. A realtor will make the entire process faster, smoother and more enjoyable for you.

2. Know what you can afford. When shopping for a home, one of your most important considerations is going to be your mortgage payments each month. There is a difference between knowing that you can afford the monthly payments and knowing if you can afford the home. Monthly payments are just part of the equation that you have to consider. When combining your mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes, you should not be paying out more than 30 percent of your gross monthly income. Also, remember to set aside enough to pay for the closing costs, which can cost between 3 and 5 percent of the total value of the home.

3. Apply for down payment assistance. Are you having problems trying to save for a down payment on the house you want to buy? There are many programs designed to help buyers just like you. HUD, for instance, offers grants to many low and moderate income families who are trying to buy a home. In some cases, they even offer loans that amount to 3 to 5 percent of the price of the home to assist with the down payment. If you stay in the home for a certain number of years, HUD often forgives the loan depending on certain circumstances.

4. Know what you are looking for. When you start the home buying process, you should have a list of criteria that you are looking for. Do you plan to start a family? If so, make sure the homes you are looking at have the proper number of bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate your growing family. Is it important to find a home close to your job? Or are you looking for a home near quality schools and neighborhoods? Have a written list of priorities that you can show to your realtor so you don’t waste your time looking at homes that don’t match your search.

Using these suggestions when buying your first home (or any home for that matter) will help the entire process smooth and hassle-free.

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