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First-Time Homebuyer? Here’s Help Getting Started

By Kellen Owings

Buying a home is always an exciting process, but naturally it can be a bit overwhelming. And when you’re a first time buyer, learning the ropes for the first time, the process can be even more stressful and seem even more complicated. Figuring out your down payment, shopping around for and obtaining the best interest rate, deciding exactly which house you want and moving quickly on it, are all none-to-easy tasks. However, take a deep breath, and follow these simple tips to help get you started.

Run the numbers.

Understand how much home you can afford to buy and whether home ownership might preclude you from addressing other important financial issues in your life, like paying off debt or paying for other pressing needs. A financial planner can help you understand how your housing choices can support your overall financial plan.

Start the mortgage process/correct credit report mistakes.

If you have not done so in a while, go online a request your free copy of your credit report through your bank or various other free websites. It's important to know your credit score and correct any errors on the report before you start the mortgage process. Your credit score and report will directly influence the terms of your mortgage and could affect which house you’re able to buy.

Conduct research.

Even if you are working with a realtor, check out new listings and spread the word throughout your friends and professional network. You never know who might be about to list a home, and you can jump on it before it even hits the market.

Keep your emotions in check.

Even with limited supply, there are a lot of houses out there. Be careful not to blow through your budget, get caught in a bidding war, or buy more home than you need. And even worse, you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you own two homes.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well prepared to start your search and buy your first home. And you’ll do it all with the savvy and confidence of an experienced home buyer.

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