Thinking of buying your first home? Heaton Dainard specializes in helping first time home buyers navigate the process of buying their first home. Please contact Monica Ulmer at for more information.

First-Time Home Buyer Tips:

First-time home buyers have a lot of factors to consider before they buy their first house. These five frequently asked questions by first-time home buyers will help you get started in your quest for home ownership:
1.Paying rent is money down the drain. When thinking about buying your first home, money plays a large role in your decision. When you rent a home instead of owning it, you are losing that money since it goes directly into your landlord’s wallet. When you buy a home and pay a monthly mortgage, you are investing in your family and future. Owning a home saves you the hassle of rent agreement restrictions and gives you a place that is you can truly call your own.

2.In this tough economy, it’s a sad reality that many people are losing their homes to bank foreclosures. But, on the bright side, first-time home buyers have an opportunity to take advantage of great deals with lower housing prices and lower down payments. HUD (Housing and Urban Development) homes are foreclosed homes that are sold quickly after HUD pays the mortgage lender what is owed.

3.Bad credit doesn’t mean you’ll be renting forever. Even if your credit score is not the best, you can still be a first-time home buyer. With bad credit and not much money for a down payment, you might be a good candidate for a federal mortgage program. There are many programs that will help you on your way to buying your first home, so don’t get discouraged by credit history that isn’t perfect.

4.Worried about getting a loan? Don’t be! Before you give up on becoming a first-time home buyer because you can’t find a loan that works for you, try a mortgage calculator that will give you an estimate of how much home you can afford. Before you start looking for homes, you can get a pre-qualified loan, so you don’t experience the disappointment of finding the perfect home only to discover that you can’t afford it or don’t qualify. Talking to a real estate broker can help you evaluate your purchase potential.

5.Real estate brokers are a must in today’s market. They have the knowledge and expertise to help you avoid the pitfalls many people experience when they buy their first home. A real estate broker can help you find the right house to fit your budget, assist with paperwork and loan applications and the final closing to make a house your new home.

First-Time Home Buyers: Houses Turned Into Homes.
You’ve decided to buy your first home, but you still have questions. This is perfectly normal. Buying your first home is a large leap, but it doesn’t have to be a frightening experience.

How many homes should you expect to see?
While there are thousands of houses on the market, don’t expect to see even half of them. If you visited 100 homes, there would be too many important details to remember. When first-time home buyers are seeking the perfect home, your broker will try to narrow your search down to a handful of homes that are a match for your family’s needs, so you aren’t overwhelmed.

How do you decide on which house is the best?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but first-time home buyers need to be careful. There are a few things you can do to compare homes before you choose one. You should bring a digital camera to photograph the things you like and dislike about each home. This will help you recall the desired amenities and the possible deal breakers you observe. Pay attention to the location. Do you like the location, surrounding homes and neighborhood? Is there anything about the home that stands out? Rate each home you visit so you can review your options, compare value and make an informed decision before you make an offer.

What if it’s love at first sight?
You visit a few homes and find the perfect home right away. What should you do? If you know that this house is ‘the one’, then go for it. You know your style and your needs better than anyone, so don’t be shy. If you like it, but aren’t sold on it, keep shopping or just smile and tell your real estate broker that you’ve found it. Don’t wait too long to make an offer. You don’t want your first love to become the one that got away.

Understanding ‘real-estate speak’Mortgage, down payment, interest, closing costs, credit, loans, earnest money, 15 year, 30 year…
First-time home buyers’ heads can spin with all of the real estate terms that are thrown at them. Buying a home is stressful enough without learning a whole new language that only real estate brokers seem to understand. Breaking down the real estate vernacular is the key to a pleasant home buying experience.

How much money do you need to buy a home?
This depends on the mortgage, home price, and other factors. Generally, you need to come up with enough money to cover three things. There are three terms that are essential for first-time home buyers to understand: earnest money, down payment and closing costs.

Earnest Money:
The deposit you make on a house when you submit your offer to buy. Earnest money assures the seller that you are serious about the house. If your offer is accepted, the deposit goes toward your down payment or closing costs. If it is not accepted, this deposit is refunded to you.

Down Payment:
A percentage of the total cost of the home that you pay upfront. The larger your down payment, the lower your payments will be on your mortgage. Some people think that the required down payment has to be 15 percent or 20 percent, but this depends on your lender and what type of loan. Some loan programs can offer purchases with as little as three percent down.

Closing Costs: 
Closing costs are the paperwork and processing costs. Closing costs are, on average, three percent to four percent of the purchase price.

Mortgage Basics for First-Time Home Buyers

While there are many types of mortgages, below is a list of mortgage basics for first-time home buyers:

Types of Mortgages:
Fixed-rate Mortgage: This type of home loan means that your interest rate stays the same through the entire term of the mortgage. Normally, mortgage terms are 30 years. So, with a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage, you’ll always know how much your monthly payments will be.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage: Adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) are not consistent like fixed-rate mortgages. With this type of home loan, your payments in the beginning will normally be lower than toward the end of your mortgage term. Your rate and payment can be adjusted up or down twice a year. Adjustable rate mortgages are advantageous because your initial interest rate will be lower.

Government Mortgage Programs: The government offers several mortgage programs for people who qualify. With a government backed loan, FHA loan, lenders will get their money even if the home owner doesn’t pay or has to leave the home due to financial setbacks.

What should your mortgage cover?
A mortgage should cover the cost of the house (principal), interest, homeowners’ insurance, and property taxes. These costs are most often included in your monthly payment.

Are there any other costs to consider?
Costs other than your house payment to consider are monthly utilities, homeowner association dues and taxes not included in your mortgage.

What do you need to bring when applying for a mortgage?
When applying for a mortgage, you need to be prepared with all of the necessary documents so that the process can move smoothly. You’ll need: Social Security Numbers, copies of checking and savings account statements for six months, documentation of other assets, recent paycheck stubs, credit card statements, outstanding loan balances and account numbers, income tax returns for the past two years and the name and address of someone who can verify your employment.