Kristin Bodkin's Blog
Being a first-time home buyer is tough. It can seem like you have undertaken one of the most overwhelming processes ever. There’s so much to learn in the process of securing a mortgage and closing on a home. If you go into buying a home prepared with knowledge, it will be that much easier for you.
There’s a lot of terminology to learn about the home buying process. You’ll need to know who should be involved with the transaction including agents, lawyers and bankers. You’ll need to be prepared for the fees involved in buying a home as well. There are many different programs available to help first-time homebuyers that can help you save money and secure your first home. Here’s just some of those programs:
This is the Federal Housing Administration and it’s a very popular go-to for first-time home buyers. It’s also great for people who have tarnished credit history. As a borrower with FHA backing, you can qualify for a loan with as little as 3.5% down. These FHA loans have an additional cost built into them which is mortgage insurance. In case you default on the loan, this protects the lender.
The Department Of Veteran’s Affairs
This resource helps veterans, service members and their surviving spouses to buy homes. Often, this program requires no down payment or mortgage insurance. The problem is that getting these kinds of loans can take awhile to process, so you can’t be in a big hurry to buy a home.
Good Neighbor Next Door
This program is meant for teachers, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical responders, which is why it’s called the “Good Neighbor” initiative. This is a program sponsored as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It allows 50% discounts of the price of homes in places considered revitalization areas. All you need to do is be in one of the said professions and commit to living on the property for at least 3 years. The catch is that these homes are listed for just 7 days on the Good Neighbor Next Door website.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
These are government-sanctioned companies that work with local lenders to offer good mortgage options for first-time home buyers such as 3% down payment options.
The U.S Department of Agriculture has its own homebuyers’ assistance program. The benefits are for people who live in rural areas and allows 100% financing by offering lenders mortgage guarantees in return. There are income limitations that can vary by region.
Assistance Isn’t Hard To Find
As you can see, there are many programs available to help first-time homebuyers. From downpayment assistance to ways that you can keep your mortgage payments low, you can find some help if you need it. You may feel that purchasing a home is something that’s far in the future the future, but with federal programs, more people can realize their dreams of home ownership.
No one likes to be alone all the time. Fear of being alone is what keeps some people from moving out of their parents’ house. It’s also why some people refuse to move out of an apartment. Although neighbors may change more frequently at an apartment complex, there’s always someone nearby.
It can be comforting to know that as soon as you exit your apartment, there’s a good chance that you’ll have someone to talk with about the latest sports game, hit song or popular movie. When you live in an apartment, you may also run into more people who share the same hobby or passion that you love.
You don’t have to feel alone just because you live on your own
Loneliness may have absolutely nothing to do with preferring apartment living or staying at home with family. It could be a strong appreciation for people that’s behind the pull to stay near others. If this sounds like you and you do want to own a house of your own, there are housing options that accommodate your make-up.
You could move into a communal home. Before you take this move, get to know the other tenants. Also, find out what the legal ownership agreements are. It’s important that you feel comfortable with each person living at the house. Really think this option over, especially if you have children. Some people love living in a communal home. If you stay at hostels when you travel abroad, this might be a good option for you.
Another option is to buy a house with a friend or a relative. For example, if you have a sibling or a cousin who you trust and are close with, you could buy a house with this person. Make sure that the person you sign a mortgage with has steady employment, is responsible for herself and respects your space. Because they are a relative, you already know many of the people who are close to the person, eliminating the need to get acquainted with strangers.
If you do buy a house by yourself, a row house could do wonders. Row houses are attached homes that offer an apartment feel. You may not hear your neighbors from inside your home. Plus, when you step on your front or back porch, you can chat with your neighbors without having to cross the yard. What you probably won’t have is a large front of back yard.
Condos and mobile homes are other properties that can keep you from feeling like an island. As with any house, look for a condo or mobile home that is near shops,businesses, entertainment, worship centers and other facilities that you use regularly. After all, you don’t only want to live in a house that’s close to other people, you want to live in a community that puts you near the very things that you love.
To truly feel connected to others, get out and meet your neighbors. Make speaking with your neighbors a habit. You could even start a neighborhood block party. Who knows? One of your neighbors could become a life long best friend.
If you’re hunting for a new home, it can be tempting to make an appointment to view as many as possible. However, it can be a better use of your time to narrow down the search beforehand and eliminate houses from your list based on some at-home research. That way you can use those extra hours for fine-tuning your home search and make sure you visit only the houses that will suit your every need.
In this article, we’ll teach you some ways to research a home, neighborhood and town before you take the time to visit.
Things to Research about Your Potential New Neighborhood
So you’ve found a listing that looks nice. Your next step should be to find out as much as possible about the area the home is in to make sure it suits your needs.
A good first step is to head over to Google Maps to find out which amenities are in the area. Schools, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, parks… the list goes on. This is also a good time to map out how long it will take you on average to drive to work from this house and to see if it will lead you through any high-traffic areas that might affect your daily schedule.
You can also research other homes in the area to see if the house is selling higher or lower than average. This will give you a question to ask the real estate agent if you choose to reach out for further information.
Another step to take on Google for this home is to look up statistics for things like neighborhood crime, ratings for the school district, and the state of local businesses.
Is the area up-and-coming with healthy businesses and low crime? If so, it could be worth pursuing further.
If you’re planning on having children or already do, the quality of the education could be of importance to you.
Finally, get an idea of the local tax rates so you know how much you’ll owe the government for your property and excise taxes.
Researching the house itself
If you’re comfortable with the town and neighborhood, there’s still some research you can do online before you schedule a showing.
See if you can find out if the house belongs to a homeowner’s association. Look up their rules and fees to see if they’re agreeable to you and your family’s lifestyle and plans for the future.
Look up the sale history for the home. If there are several recent sales, this could be a sign of problems with the home or neighborhood. Similarly, if the price has increased or decreased dramatically more than nearby houses, consider asking the real estate agent why this is.
Finally, see if you can view the number of days the home has been on on the market, commonly abbreviated as “DOM.” This will give you some insight as to how desirable the home and neighborhood are.
Once you have all of the information at your disposal, you’ll be in a position to decide whether or not to schedule an appointment to view the home.