As a first-time homebuyer, navigating the steps to find the right home within your budget may feel intimidating. At The Snyder Realty Group, we get it, and we’re here to help you! With the right team guiding you, buying your first home can be an exciting experience without all of the stress.

These tips will help you start the process, save money, and close the deal!

1. Save as much as you can

These days, a down payment is ideally at least 3% down for a person with excellent credit. If that amount is challenging, even a small down payment can make a difference. Create a goal for your down payment amount and set aside installments in your savings account.

Along with the down payment are the closing costs, which are fees and expenses to finalize your mortgage. These costs can range from 2% to 6% of the loan amount. If it’s a buyer’s market, you can negotiate with the seller to cover part of this cost, but it is best to be prepared and not rely on this.

2. Ensure your credit score is strong

Your credit score is the factor that will determine if you qualify for a mortgage and what the interest rate for that loan will be. The higher your score is, the lower your interest rate will be. Here are ways to improve or maintain your credit score:

  • Pay your bills on time and keep your credit card balance low
  • Track your credit score regularly. Some credit card companies offer reports.
  • Print free copies of your credit score report and dispute any potential errors that could lower your score.
  • Keep your current credit cards active. Doing so will keep your payment history and your oldest account positive.

3. Be honest with what you can afford

Before even looking at possible homes, determine how much you can spend and be honest with yourself. Using an online calculator can help you based on your income, debt, credit score, your down payment, and the area(s) you are looking to live in.

4. Choose your lender and Realtor

The right lender will walk you through your options carefully and find options that are best for you. Knowing that you are a first-time buyer, they can see if you are eligible for first-time homebuyer’s programs and walk you through the steps.

The right real estate agent will devote their days to helping you find the best home for your vision and budget. They will represent you and walk you through the negotiations with the seller as well as the closing process.

For both your lender and agent, request referrals from recent homebuyers and meet with candidates to learn who best suits your needs.

5. Know what mortgages are available to you

There are several possible mortgages available that depend on your eligibility. Talk with your lender to see which one is best for you:

  • Conventional Loans are not guaranteed by the government, and they can require as little as 3% down.
  • USDA Loans are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rural homebuyers and require no down payment.
  • FHA Loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and require as little as 3.5% down.
  • VA Loans are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs for current and veteran military service members and require no down payment.

6. Pay for home inspections

After making the most of the open houses, you have found a house you can see becoming your home, but do not accept the house at first glance. Always pay to have an inspection done and keep in mind the following:

  • Standard inspections do not include testing for radon, pests, or mold. Speak with your inspector and state whether you would like additional tests to be done.
  • Make sure they analyze every part of the house and provide you with a thorough report.
  • Attend the inspection. This way you get a better understanding of the house and you can ask any questions while the inspector is there.

7. You can negotiate with the seller

It has never hurt anyone to negotiate with the seller on certain items. For example, if the inspection revealed something was damaged, you can ask the seller to either repair it, cover the cost for the repair, or even lower the cost of the house to make up for that damage. If the seller is eager to be out of the house, you may even request that they cover some of the closing costs, but it is important to first know if the market is in your favor or the seller’s.

If you are a first-time homebuyer looking for the right team to support you, please contact us today. At Snyder Realty Group, we have the experience and insight to guide you to your first home!