First-Time Homebuyer Tag

11 Apr 2016

Buying your first home? Here’s step 2: How much can you afford?

We see you, potential homebuyer. Once you decided to stop renting and start looking for a place to call your own, you’ve been crusin’ through Pinterest’s home section like it’s your job. And good thing your dream home board has unlimited storage because you’re definitely saving every other pin, all the while adding to your ever-evolving can’t live without list. While compiling no less than 4,756 photos of updated, craftsman-style, open floor plan bungalows is certainly a fun step in the home buying process, a more important exercise in this stage of the game is figuring out just how much house you can afford.  Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds--here’s how to make sure your dream home...
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22 Dec 2014

Down payment options just got better

According to the 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, published by the National Association of Realtors®, one of the main issues holding back first-time homebuyers is the saving for a down payment. This factor has resulted in a decrease in the number of first-time buyers, to 33 percent of the total housing market, from the high of 50 percent in 2010 when we had the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. But here’s some good news. A recent announcement from Fannie Mae may address some of this concern. Fannie Mae has reduced the down payment requirement – from 5 percent to 3 percent – as long as one of the buyers is a first-time homebuyer (defined as someone who has not owned...
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30 Oct 2013

A Property Wish List Provides Focus

When heading to the grocery store, it’s usually best to bring a list of what you want. That way, you don’t get distracted by splashy sales and promotions and forget to buy the items you really need. How about keeping a shopping list–or a wish list– handy during your house hunt? It’s easy to get sidetracked by gleaming new appliances and lose track of the essentials you were hoping for in the first place. Making a wish list ahead of time also helps you focus, and it can help your Allen Tate Realtor® by providing guidance into what matters most to you. Here’s a sampling of topics to consider including when jotting down your list: - What is your ideal price range? - How...
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18 Jan 2012

Are You an Echo Boomer?

Do you dream of owning your own home someday? The pundits want us to believe that your generation – born between 1980 and 1995 – are disenchanted with the dream of homeownership. But I, for one, don’t believe it for a moment, although for the first time in history, you’re not leading the charge in the housing recovery.

Here’s what I have heard and think:

  • You are concerned about education, leisure and people. They are very important to you at this time in your life.
  • You have more school debt than any generation prior to you.
  • You are in a very tight job market.
  • You are taking longer to settle down and plant roots in one place.
  • You are delaying having children.
  • You have limited savings and assets.
1 Nov 2011

Top 10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

There’s a saying in my family that routinely brings a chuckle (or three) out of everyone except my mother. The reason is that those chuckles are at her expense but deep down she knows that my father, sister and I do it out of love. Definitely not out of amusement.

While the latter half of the saying varies depending on time, date and season, it always begins with “It’s hard to imagine …”

For instance, we could be driving along, staring at the snow-covered landscape and my mom would chirp up and say, “It’s hard to imagine that in six months time these trees will be covered in leaves.” Like clockwork, we can depend on her uttering some variation of those words and so, the “it’s hard to imagine” phrase has become a part of our family.

Now, as Amy and I sit here typing up our takeaways from our Homebuying Adventures, I have to sit back, think of my mother and say, “It’s hard to imagine that a few months ago we were just beginning this adventure.”

11 Oct 2011

Is A House the Right Choice?

The Homebuying Adventure process has been part eye-opening, part stressful and part awesome. The biggest eye-opener was of course my meeting with Mollie Bergstrom from Mortgage (I’m still working diligently on building up my credit) but the day we spent looking at houses is right up there as well.

It’s hard to go into an experience like this without expectations, ideas and prerequisites in mind. House hunting is a lot like going on a series of blind dates. First, you tell someone (your trusty Realtor® in this case) what you are looking for, your likes, your dislikes and everything in between. He or she goes out and scours the home inventory in hopes of finding you that “match made in heaven.” Then, it’s time for you to brace yourself as you put your trust in the hands of fate and venture out to “meet” your prospects.

4 Oct 2011

Condo or Townhome? That is the Question

I think the most exciting thing about buying your first home is the actual process of looking at homes. I couldn’t wait to see what my choices would be.  I was counting down the days … and finally the day arrived!  The first day of looking was devoted to condos and townhomes. As a former apartment dweller, I associated the condo living with the same lifestyle as an apartment. I’ve recently moved from the apartment to a rental house.  In my mind, a townhome falls somewhere in between the two.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, below is a great chart to compare condo living versus townhome living:

28 Sep 2011

Discovering My Credit Score

As I started this Homebuying Adventure, I’ll have to admit I was a little nervous about the mortgage process (check out my video here!).  Hidden in my credit closet were several credit cards with more debt than I would like to admit. So when Mollie Bergstrom from Allen Tate Mortgage said something about pulling my credit score, I prepared myself for the worst.

I’ve been working on paying down my credit cards (yes, I was one who fell into the credit trap right after college) and I’ve heard mixed comments about closing those cards after they are paid off. In talking about this dilemma with Mollie, she told me that closing paid-off cards erases the “good credit” that you’ve built up.  What? This is good to know! I have good credit on the cards with no balance! I tucked away this information and tried to ease my nerves on my pending credit score.

20 Sep 2011

Why a Realtor? Why Buy?

After meeting with my Realtor®, Maggie Redmond, and diving through the information packet, I realized this Homebuying Adventure was going to be about more than just buying a house!  Lucky for me, Maggie came to my rescue. No more overloading on information by myself.  She made everything simple.

As I digested the step by step buying guide, commonly used terms and my property wish list, I came away with the following:

Why should I buy? Why now?

  • Interest rates are historically low. (This means savings!)
  • Inventory is high. ( I have more to choose from and can get somewhat picky.)
  • Sellers are motivated. (Do I smell opportunities???)
  • Financing is available. (I will be able to pay for this.)

Now that I knew it was a great time to buy, what’s next? Could I start searching and picking out my perfect home?  As I began filling out the wish list I realized that I didn’t even know what I could afford. I knew I wanted to keep the payments close to what I was already paying in rent. Wait! There was a paper in the information packet all about mortgages!