If you’ve never purchased a home or property of your own before, we realize it can be a little scary. Where do you start and what should you do in order to make the “American Dream” of home ownership come true for you and your family?
You need to spend time planning and preparing for such a major life event. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, so don’t let it be.
Take some time, do your research, learn what you need to do and then come up with an actionable plan to make it happen. Millions have done it before you and you can do it too!
The good news if you’re a first time home buyer is that there are plenty of great programs in the United States you can take advantage of. You can learn more about these online, of course, but we’ll touch on a few of the details here as well.
So where and how do you start on the road to home ownership at the Delaware and Maryland beaches? Let’s answer that question and more right now:
Start Saving As Soon As Possible
This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s also a lot easier said than done. The takeaway here is that the earlier you start saving for a future home purchase, the easier it will be to reach your goals.
There are a few things you’ll want to be aware of when starting out on this path.
First, you need to save money for a down payment. This isn’t a hard figure, of course, as there are many variables that come into play. But figure on at least 3 percent of the purchase price as a downpayment, although planning for 5 is probably a better idea.
Next, you’ll want to figure in closing costs, which consist of things like home inspections, lawyer’s fees, transfer taxes (in Delaware) and several other things.
The last area you’ll want to save for are expenses related to moving and getting settled in your new home. This includes things like furniture, moving trucks, minor repairs, etc.
Determine What You Can Afford And Stick To It
Look over your finances and determine what you think you can afford on a home. And when you reach a figure, consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage to see if you’re in the ballpark.
You’ll want to take into account factors like income, debt, down payment, credit score and many others. If you don’t, the bank or mortgage company certainly will.
Once you’ve determined what you can afford, stick to the plan! You may be told you can apply for additional credit or participate in certain programs that will allow you to buy a more expensive home.
Don’t agree to anything that would put you in a difficult financial situation. Only do what you feel comfortable with and what can easily fit into your lifestyle.
A credit score is very important when applying for a mortgage and is taken very seriously by potential lenders. Which means you need to take it very seriously as well.
You can obtain free copies of your credit report from any of the major credit bureaus and we definitely suggest you do just that. You need to learn what’s on your credit report before you can begin improving it.
Also be sure to pay your bills on time and don’t get overextended on your credit cards. Guard that credit score as if your life depended on it, which can then make it easier to purchase your first home.
There are tons of programs out there for first time home buyers and we recommend spending some time researching these and learning what works best for you. You should also lean on your Realtor or mortgage broker of choice for information in this regard.
Benefits available in some programs include assistance with closing costs, low-interest mortgages, down payment assistance and a few others.
Some programs even offer both short and long-term tax credits, so look into that as well.
Choose The Right Real Estate Agent
This is likely the most important decision you’ll make on your path to home ownership. You need to find a Realtor who will work tirelessly on your behalf, right up until the day you receive the keys to your new home.
We’re biased of course here at the Oldfather Group, but we also have a long history of achieving results for both buyers and sellers in the coastal region. And we’d love nothing more than to help make your dreams come true.
But we do recommend you get referrals from friends and neighbors, do your due diligence and check for online reviews and any other information that can assist you in choosing just the right Realtor for you.
Ask lots of questions and be comfortable with your decision. A good Realtor can be invaluable on your journey to home ownership, so take your time and pick the one that’s right for you and your family.
For more tips and information on how you can take advantage of first-time home buyer programs on your path to home ownership at the Delaware and Maryland beaches, call the Oldfather Group today at 302-260-2000 and speak to a member of the coastal region’s top selling real estate sales team.
We’d love to have a chat and show you first hand how we can make the “American Dream” come true for you and your family.