Buying First House
Buying a house can take as little as a few days if you're buying in cash, or can take years if you're counting the amount of time it takes you to save money for a down payment and decide where to live. In a competitive housing market, you may put in multiple offers on homes before one is accepted. Conversely, mounting worry over a housing recession could lead more sellers to pull their homes from the market, making it more difficult to find a suitable property. If you already have your money saved and have a good idea of the neighborhoods and type of home you want, the process will probably take you two to six months. Ask a local real estate agent for a more accurate timeline based on your local market conditions.
buying first house
One of the most important priorities of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is helping home buyers with the purchase of their first home, and this includes assisting borrowers with their down payment. If you qualify as a first-time home buyer, you may have access to state programs, tax breaks and an FHA loan.
Your reason for buying a home will be your north star for making decisions about your purchase. If your goal is to dip your toe into real estate investment, a duplex may be the perfect option for you.
Spending all or most of your savings on the down payment and closing costs is one of the biggest first-time homebuyer mistakes, says Ed Conarchy, a mortgage planner and investment adviser at Cherry Creek Mortgage in Gurnee, Illinois.
How this affects you: Any new loans or credit card accounts on your credit report can jeopardize the closing and final loan approval. Buyers, especially first-timers, often learn this lesson the hard way.
What to do instead: Consider other mortgage options. You can put as little as 3 percent down for a conventional mortgage with PMI, and FHA loans only require 3.5 percent down if your credit score is 580 or above. With some other types of loans, you might even be able to secure a mortgage with no down payment at all. Plus, check with your local or state housing programs to see if you qualify for housing assistance programs designed for first-time buyers.
There are lots of programs out there to help first-time homebuyers. This can range from local government or community programs that offer free classes about home buying and homeownership to grants that give you cash to put toward a down payment.
Down payment: Buying a home with no money down is possible, but most homeowners need to have some cash for a down payment. A down payment is the first major payment you make on your loan at closing.
There are multiple parties involved when getting a mortgage and buying a house. Your real estate agent is your representative in the home purchase transaction. Your agent will look out for your best interests by finding homes that meet your criteria, get you showings, help you write offers and negotiate.
A real estate agent represents you and helps you understand how to buy a house. Your agent will show you properties, write an offer letter on your behalf and assist in negotiations. Real estate agents are local market experts and can also advise you on how much to offer for each property.
Only you can decide which property is right for you. Make sure you see plenty of homes before you decide which one you want to make an offer on. Like much of the home buying process, you can do a great deal of your house hunting online.
In addition to all the programs, HUD funds approved housing counseling agencies throughout the country that can provide advice on many housing-related topics, including buying a home. Use this map to find one in your state.
When looking for a new place to live, the first question you ask yourself will help drive the rest of your decision-making. Should you rent or buy? Buying may seem appealing because you will put an end to escalating rent and can build equity. But the reality of routine home maintenance and repairs can quickly drain a bank account.
You can find homes for sale on your own, but a good broker can help you make sound decisions and guide you through the home buying process. A broker can also help you get access to homes as soon as they hit the market, before they may be listed online.
Understand that making an offer on a home is sometimes the start of a psychological game. You likely want to get the home for as little as you can without losing the house outright. The seller wants to maximize the selling price of the home without scaring you away. Where should you start with your first offer? Conventional wisdom says to begin at 5 percent below the asking price, but market conditions will largely determine how much wiggle room you have. The more competitive the market, the more likely you are to face multiple bidders. In a soft market, where listings have been sitting unsold, you will have more negotiating power. In a rising market, prime listings will command the full asking price or more, and sometimes offering just a few thousand dollars above listing price can help your offer stand out. Either way, keep your budget in mind when you make your first offer and set a cap of how high you are truly willing to go.
In a highly competitive market, where attractive listings are scarce, you can forget about getting a deal. While the highest offer often wins out, being the first to make a solid offer can give you an edge in a bidding war.
Once your bid on a house is accepted, you set in motion the process that will take you to finally holding a set of keys in your hand. While you may be eager to move into your new place, it is in your best interest to do your due diligence to make sure you get a home that it is in good condition and at a good rate.
But before you begin this journey as a first-time homebuyer, you should invest in some logistical groundwork. Doing your homework ahead of time will better prepare you for the homebuying process, especially when the housing market is hot and competition fierce.
You may be able to access grants and down payment assistance programs that can help you pay for your home. There are first-time homebuyer programs in every state; most are developed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
When it comes to home ownership, the IRS considers a home to be a house, condominium, cooperative apartment, mobile home, houseboat or house trailer that contains a sleeping space, toilet and cooking facilities.
For example, if you bring home $6,600 a month, your maximum house payment is $1,650. Now imagine you get a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4% interest. If your property tax is 1.14%, home insurance is $1,200 per year, and PMI is 0.5% (for down payments below 20%), here are some home prices you could afford:
Imagine you want a $300,000 house with 20% down. You need a mortgage for $240,000. Even if the 30-year loan and the 15-year loan offered the same interest rate (unlikely, since 30-year rates are almost always higher), the 30-year mortgage still costs more.
Here are the basic home-buying steps: Determine how much house you can afford, get preapproved for a mortgage, find an experienced real estate agent, research neighborhoods for best fit, go house hunting, make a competitive offer within your budget, finalize your financing, and prepare for closing.