The Do’s and Don’ts of First-Time Homebuying

Thinking about buying a home for the first time is overwhelming.  Mention it to anyone you know and you immediately receive unsolicited advice.  Google tips and you enter a black hole of suggestions.  To help you narrow down the noise, we’ve put together a list of 5 do’s and don’ts for first-time homebuyers.

Do:

  • Get pre-approved – you will need to know how much you can afford before going to look for homes.
  • Get educated – The home buying process involves lots of very important decisions and attending a home buyer class allows to learn the process and ask questions.
  • Ask about county specific programs. Each county has programs based on income that assists with down payments.
  • Ask your lender if there are any ways of boosting your credit. In certain cases, your credit can be boosted instantly by paying down credit cards. If you are able to boost your credit from a 670 to a 680 instantly, it put you into a better interest rate bracket.
  • Get referrals! If a friend or family member refers someone to you, it’s probably a good sign that person did a good job. Just make sure they referred them because of their good work, not just because they know them personally.

Don’t:

  • Assume you need 20% down – there are so many programs that allow you to put 5%, 3%, and even 0% down! Even if you have 15%, mortgage insurance is cheaper than you may think.
  • Be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand any of the documents you are signing throughout the loan process, ask the lender to go over them with you. Any good loan officer would be happy to walk you through it.
  • Open new credit during the loan process. New credit could impact your debt to income ratio and loan your max qualifying number.
  • Put all of your money into buying a home – yes, a home is a great investment, but make sure you have an emergency fund in case the heater breaks. Homes can have a lot of unexpected expenses and you want to be prepared.
  • Change careers in the middle of the process. Be aware that if you go from a normal W2 paying job and switch to a commission or bonus paying job, you’ll have to have 2 years history of getting that pay before you can qualify for a loan. Keep that in mind!

Brenda Martin of John L Scott real estate and I (Scott Sheridan) are joining forces to present a New Home Buyer class.  The next class is on April 6th from 10am-3pm.
John L Scott Renton – 4735 NE 4th st Renton, WA 98059
Lunch will be provided!

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