Worry Less With This First-Timer Guide

You’re thinking of buying your first home — a place to call your own. But, like many, you don’t even know where to begin. The process of buying a home seems so complicated and expensive.

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Don’t worry! We can walk through the process together, from getting your financing set up to moving in after the closing. This first-time buyers’ guide was written just for you, to help simplify one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in life.

Click the image to download the guide.

If you’d like to learn more about the homebuying process, or if you have any questions while reading the guide, please get in touch.

Should you remodel your home or move?

You love your home. You’ve made it your own and have lots of happy memories there. But maybe it no longer suits you and your family as well as it did before.

Maybe it’s too small or lacks the features you need — or you might simply want something different. Either way, it’s no longer the dream home it once was.

When this happens, you have two options: buy a new place or remodel your current one.

Not sure which is best for your situation? Here are some pros and cons of each:

Planning to make a move?
On the plus side, you get a new home that meets all your needs — and maybe even a better location. And you won’t be stuck in a construction zone for weeks or months on end.

But on the other hand, you’ll probably need to deal with selling your house and buying a new one simultaneously, which can be complicated. You’ll need the money for a down payment, closing costs and the actual move.

Think remodeling is the answer?
Advantages of remodeling include staying put and avoiding the time, cost and stress of moving. You might increase your home’s value as well, which could mean more profits if you decide to sell later.

The downside? Renovations aren’t always quick or easy. You might be surrounded by construction, contractors and materials for months. It also has its limits — you may not be able to achieve everything you want.

Though both routes have their pros and cons, the right choice depends on your budget, the real estate market and your family’s preferences. If you’re not sure, reach out for guidance. We can also discuss your financing options for a remodel or a new home.

Home Loans Don’t Have to Be Confusing

There’s nothing like walking into a house and realizing it’s the one — your dream home!

But before you go house hunting, you should get preapproved for a loan that’s just as perfect for you. Making sense of the financial language might initially seem intimidating, but it’s the first step to living that dream.

Get in touch if you’d like help answering the following questions:

15 or 30 years?
If paying off your loan sooner is important to you, a 15-year mortgage might be a good fit. These typically have a lower interest rate, but you’ll have a higher monthly payment due to the shorter loan term.

If you need (or want) a lower monthly payment, a 30-year mortgage might be better suited to your lifestyle.

Fixed or adjustable?
Fixed-rate mortgages are generally uncomplicated and have specified monthly payments that make budgeting easier. You neither save when market rates go down nor suffer when they spike.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) typically start with lower interest rates that stay fixed for a set amount of time. Once that period ends, your rates vary at predetermined intervals.

Conventional or government?
The typical 20% down payment you’ve probably heard about is associated with conventional loans, but it isn’t a must. Your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and down payment all factor into your interest rate.

Don’t have a big down payment or excellent credit? Consider a government-backed loan. With an FHA loan, you only need a small down payment, dependent on your credit score. The VA offers mortgages with no down payment to active military, reservists, veterans and spouses. And if you’re in a rural area, you may qualify for a zero-down USDA loan.

Curious about which type of home loan will be the best fit for you? Reach out today.

Homeownership Is Within Your Reach

You love your neighborhood and you have a steady job, but there’s one thing bothering you: You’re still renting. What you really want is to find a place where you can put down some roots.

But you don’t have enough for a 20% down payment and your credit isn’t perfect, so how can you buy a home?

Good news: The home you’ve had your eye on could be yours sooner than you think. Let’s dispel some common homebuying myths:

Myth: I need a near-perfect credit score.
Fact: Having a score in the very good or exceptional range is probably going to get you better loan terms, but it’s not required.

If your credit score is considered fair or good, you will still be able to borrow. You’ll likely have a slightly higher interest rate, but you could improve your score and refinance in the future.

Myth: A 20% down payment is mandatory.
Fact: Most buyers have a lower down payment. We can discuss which loan options are fit for you.

With a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, you may need as little as a 3.5% down payment, depending on your credit standing. Veterans and military personnel can sometimes buy a home with no down payment using a VA loan.

Myth: I’m prequalified or preapproved — I can buy a home now.
Fact: Prequalification or preapproval gives you an estimate of how much you can borrow before you start house hunting.

You’ll get a Loan Estimate after applying for a mortgage that gives you a more accurate picture of the costs and terms.

Myth: Fixed-rate loans are always better than adjustable-rate loans.
Fact: It might seem that a fixed-rate mortgage can help you plan for the future by knowing your monthly costs.

But don’t automatically discount adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Rates could fall, and ARMs are especially useful if you think you’ll be in the home for five years or less. Reach out to learn more.

What else do you want to know about home financing? Get in touch today if you have questions.