Homebuying can be an exciting but complicated process, with many steps, decisions, and confusing legal documents. Mistakes could be costly: you could pay too much or learn that your new home needs expensive repairs after you’ve bought it. The homebuying experience can be smoother if you are prepared. Here are some tips to help you begin.
- Check your credit score and get your papers in order. Check out this detailed list of the documents and steps in the mortgage process. First, review your credit score, which can affect the rest of the process. Next, check for and fix any errors.
- Look beyond the price to build a realistic budget. It’s easy to focus on the purchase price, but an ongoing budget covers the down payment plus all the closing costs; what you’ll pay for monthly mortgage payments, insurance, and taxes; as well as the likely costs of ongoing maintenance. Huntington can walk you through these costs. Check out this article, “Ready to buy a home? First, build a budget,” to get started.
- Seek help if your budget’s too tight. Don’t despair. Many states offer mortgage assistance to first-time homebuyers. You can find a list of federal programs here and search online for state programs available where you live. If you’re a veteran, you may qualify for a VA loan, and Huntington may reduce some closing costs for veterans†. The Federal Housing Administration helps buyers who have lower credit scores, and there’s help from the US Department of Agriculture for those buying a home in a rural area. Here’s a list of nine programs for first-time homebuyers, including one for buying fixer-uppers.
- Make sure your relationship with your real estate agent is solid. Your agent, called a buyer’s agent, should represent only you, not the seller as well. Your agent should show respect for your budget and have a clear understanding of your house and neighborhood needs. They should also have experience selling homes in your price range. Here’s a recommended checklist for finding an agent who is right for you.
- Remember, you’re in charge. The buying process can take on a momentum of its own, especially if there are multiple buyers interested in a house. Take your time, write down what’s most important to you, scout potential neighborhoods, and remember that if you haven’t signed anything or put money down, you are not committed.
Understanding the costs of buying a home can be difficult, so talk to a Huntington loan officer in person. They know the process well and are there to help guide you.