The real estate industry can be hard to navigate, especially if you are a first-time buyer. The good thing is that information is always available online, ready for the taking. With a little research, you can reduce the stress and anxiety that inevitably comes with a first time home buying experience. You could also turn to reputable real estate brokers like Heidi Houston. But in the meantime, here are some basic advice for novice homebuyers.
Contact Multiple Mortgage Lenders Before Choosing One
A common mistake for first-time homebuyers is going with the first lender that they get in touch with. This may seem inconsequential, but your choice of lender will have a lot of impacts, and you would realize this once you start paying for your mortgage.
Make sure that you talk to multiple mortgage lenders and narrow down your options to three. This will help ensure that you find the best rate that suits your current and future financial situation and save you thousands of dollars.
Find Out More About the Different Types of Home Loans
There are dozens of home loans that first-time buyers could choose from, and it would be best to discuss this with a licensed broker like Heidi Houston. However, four of them prove to be popular among applicants and bear mentioning.
Conventional Home Loans
Contrary to common knowledge, homebuyers do not have to pay a 20% down payment when making a purchase for the first time. The average national rate is at 6%. For conventional home loans, it is 3%. Also known as the conforming home loan, it is a great option for homebuyers with good credit scores but a limited budget for a down payment.
The Federal Housing Administration loans are another excellent option for first-time homebuyers. It requires a slightly higher down payment of 3.5% but is less discriminating when it comes to credit scores. However, an FHA loan entails the added cost of mortgage insurance premiums or MIP, which sometimes results in a higher overall cost.
If you are active in the service, a veteran, or surviving spouse, then the VA loan would be an ideal path to owning a home. It offers 100% financing, a streamlined and efficient approval process, and it has the lowest mortgage rates available in the market.
For those who are looking for a house in low-density suburbs and rural areas, the USDA loan is a perfect option. To meet the USDA standards, it usually means the city has a population of less than 20,000. If you qualify for this loan, you can have a new home for zero down payment, low mortgage rates, and affordable mortgage insurance.
Reverse Mortgage Loans
For those who are age 62+ and own their home, you might be a great fit for the national reverse mortgage program insured by HUD, Housing and Urban Development. Reverse mortgages do not require mortgage payments but they do require continued maintenance and require that you keep up the annual property charges such as taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Speak to your trusted financial advisor about both the pros and cons as well as a HUD approved counseling agency as these loans aren’t for everyone.
Know Your Credit Score
Reputable real estate brokers like Heidi Houston advise first-time homebuyers to be mindful of their credit scores before applying for a home loan. A credit score of 620 is usually enough to qualify for most loan programs, including those discussed above. However, the higher your credit score, the lower the mortgage rate and the bigger the home buying budget. So if possible, improve your credit score to 720 or higher before applying for a loan.