Diane Horrigan - RE/MAX  Trinity

Posted by Diane Horrigan on 2/14/2018

If you believe you are coming close to the time to buy your first home, you'll want to be informed. Itís never too early to begin preparing for a home purchase. The more organized you are, and the better you have your financial situation in order the better off youíll be when it comes to the home search. Where should you start? Below, youíll find some key things that you can do to maximize your chances of finding and securing your first home.

Check Your Credit

Your credit score is one of the most critical pieces of your financial picture. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. The higher the number, the better off you are. When youíre getting a mortgage, you want to have good credit. If your credit score is above 740, youíll be eligible for the best interest rates. If your credit score needs help, a higher score will get you the best interest rates available. Once you get your credit score, (Itís free to get through a variety of services.) aim to improve your score. Pay your bills on time. Use less of your available credit (target to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.) The bottom line is that a low-interest rate will save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan. 

Refrain From Opening New Accounts

If youíre in the market to buy a home, itís probably best for you to stay away from opening new accounts. Every store has their credit card and offers deals to open an account in store. While it could save you some money on your purchase, opening new accounts has a negative impact on your credit score in the short term. A car loan, for example, will also affect your credit score because it brings your debt-to-income ratio up, which can put a damper on your chances of getting a mortgage for a low-interest rate.

Save, Save, Save

If you want to buy a home soon, youíll need to save up a significant amount of money. These savings will go towards a downpayment, closing costs, and furnishing your new place. Every chance you get, you should be putting money away. Include gifts, bonuses, and any other income thatís outside of your average take-home pay. 

Itís also a good idea to set up a second bank account dedicated to saving for the home. Set up an automatic transfer each month that will go into that account from your primary earnings. You can d this based on how your employer pays you.

Look For A Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent will be a crucial part of your home search. They will help in everything from finding the property of your dreams to negotiating the deal to sitting by your side at closing. You should do a bit of research to help you find a real estate agent who can assist you in finding the right property for you. 

Ask family and friends for recommendations of agents. You can search for the real estate agentís name online and see what kind of reviews the agent has and contact different agents. From there. You can make a decision.          

Now, good luck with your home search! 

Categories: Buying a Home  

Posted by Diane Horrigan on 9/2/2015

Being a first time home buyer has it's benefits when it comes to financing. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has loans tailored specifically to you! Lower down payments and lower closing costs help newbies make the jump into home ownership. With a FHA first time home buyer loan you can get interest rates as low as 3.5%, which can really save money on the life of your loan and keep your monthly payments lower. Your down payment is also lower than a traditional mortgage; instead of putting 20% down, you can put as low as 3.5% down if you qualify. While a lower down payment will increase your monthly payment (since you are taking a loan out for more money), it will help with the burden of needing a large amount of money up front. With FHA loans you can also include most of the closing costs and fees into the loan, again helping with the money needed at the time of purchase. You can even add in the costs for repairing a home that needs a good deal of fixing up. Regardless, you will need to have enough money for the down payment, some closing costs, and inspection. Since you would be putting less than 20% down, FHA loans require that you also have private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is a percentage of your loan. This will be added to your monthly mortgage payment, and the bank will pay it out of your monthly. Being a first time home buyer probably means you need some help on getting through the process. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has housing counseling agencies that can give you advice on buying a home, avoiding foreclosure, and fixing your credit. You can find your local agency at http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm. Lastly, you can also find local buying programs to help with buying a home, including helping with your down payment at http://www.hud.gov/buying/localbuying.cfm. If you never thought you would be able to afford a house, think again. With programs out there to help you buy your first home, you could be moving into a place before you know it!

Categories: Buying a Home  

Posted by Diane Horrigan on 7/29/2015

You've been thinking about buying your first home and it is a very big decision. It is typically not a decision you make overnight instead you need to take the time prepare yourself. †Here are the basic steps that you should follow when it is time to buy a home.

  1. Ask are you ready? Home ownership is quite different than renting. It is a lot more expensive than renting. You will have added expenses and responsibility. There will be expenses like repairs, added utility costs, such as garbage and water, plus taxes and insurance related to your home. You will want to make sure to†have an emergency fund, before you purchase your first home.
  2. Shop for a loan. Your first step will be to get preapproved. Knowing how much you can afford will help you to look for homes within your price range.
  3. Figure out how much you can afford. Just because you are preapproved for a certain loan doesn't mean you can afford that in the real world. A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage along with your taxes and insurance between twenty five and thirty percent of your income. You don't want to be house poor.
  4. Use a real estate professional you can trust. †A good real estate professional will listen to your wants and needs carefully. It is important that you are also educated on the process of buying a home. A good real estate professional will help meet your needs while navigating you through the process and advocating for your best interests.