How to prepare for buying your first home

Buying your first home and navigating through the process of a mortgage can be daunting.

Prepare yourself for the home buying experience with these 5 steps from the National Association of REALTORS®

1. Find out what you can afford

When looking for a home, you’ll want to prepare for a down payment, monthly mortgage and closing costs. Many people thing they have to be prepared to place a 20 percent down payment, but your down payment can be as low as 3 percent. The most important thing is to find out what works best with your income and savings.

2. Learn about mortgage options

Most first-time home buyers opt for a conventional mortgage – either a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage. The monthly payments on a fixed rate mortgage never changes, whereas an adjustable-rate monthly payment rate can increase or decrease every few years.

If you are opting for a lower down payment, an FHA or a VA mortgage may be a good option if you qualify.

3. Leverage assistance programs

As a first-time home buyer, you have access to state, local and federal programs to help you afford your down payment and closing costs. You can find out which programs are available to you by contacting your state housing authority.

4. Team up with a REALTOR®

Buying a home is the biggest investment most people will ever make, so it is important to have an expert by your side to guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf. A REALTOR® is a market and negotiating specialist who will use their expertise to get you into your dream home and help you every step of the way.

5. Find your dream home

This is the fun part! You know what you can afford, and now you can start looking at real estate listings. Ask your REALTOR® to set up appointments to see your favorite homes. There are a lot of homes on the market, so it’s best to make a list of your wants and needs to get started.

REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley : 433 Williamsburg Ave., Geneva, IL 60134 : 630.232.2360 : http://www.rafv.realtor