First-Time Home Buyer Guide & Resource Center
Where Should a First-Time Home Buyer Start?
Where Should a First-Time Home Buyer Start?
1. Do I need a credit report?
- Incorrect employers
- Mistaken account information
- Accounts that don’t belong to you
- Late payments you actually made on time
- Credit injuries which you did not authorize
- Wrong current and former phone numbers and addresses
2. Do I need to get pre-approved for a home loan?
3. How does my loan relate to my down payment?
- Conventional 97: 3%
- Conventional loans: 5% – 20%
- VA loans: no down payment
- USDA loans: no down payment
4. Do I need a Real Estate Agent?
5. How can I create a smart homeownership budget?
6. What is a debt-to-income ratio?
Popular Types of First Time Home Buyer Loans
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
How to Get a First Time Home Buyers Grant
Where to Find First-Time Home Ownership Grants
Who's Got the Money?
Where Should You Start Looking?
More Specific Home Buyer Grants
--Mortgage Credit Certificate
--Good Neighbor Next Door
--Veterans Administration Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
Finding the Right Home Buyer Grants
The above list is by no means complete; rather, it’s a start. New assistance programs are forming all the time while others have expired or run their course after meeting a short-term need.
At the same time, while conducting your search for assistance, keep your guard up for websites or for-profit companies that promise to help you find any kind of funding you need for “a small fee.” Many of these organizations have names that imply an association or direct relationship with the U.S. government, when there’s no connection whatsoever. So, steer clear!
Again, your best route for seeking and finding grants to further your housing quest is to first work with professionals who have their feet firmly embedded on the ground in the areas where you want to live. Start with your local lender or your city’s housing department. They should be knowledgeable about the current housing assistance programs for which you may be eligible.
Be persistent. While it’s true there are no free lunches, sometimes there is assistance with no obligation to pay back assuming certain requirements are met for those diligent and determined enough to go looking for it.
Tips for First-Time Home Buyer
1. Do your research.
You want to know how much you can afford to spend on a home before a loan officer tells you how much you qualify for. Why? You want your investment to be a sound one, made with premeditation and an understanding of your buying power.
If you are barely starting out, research can help you determine what you need to do now to purchase a home in the future. In essence, research can help you create a home buying blueprint for yourself.
On top of the federal programs which offer beneficial terms to first-time home buyers such as FHA and VA loans, certain states have their own assistance programs which may offer help with closing costs, down payment assistance, tax credits, or discounted interest rates. It may be well worth your time to also research what your state or county may offer.
2. Stay on top of your credit.
Since your credit score is such a huge factor in buying a home, monitoring it is vital. Monitoring your credit shouldn’t only be a priority when you are thinking about purchasing a home; overseeing your credit is something that should be done as soon as you start using and building your credit.
You want to make sure that everything on your credit report belongs to you and installment payments have no late fees.
Keep your credit score from dropping once you apply for a mortgage by not opening new credit accounts such as a credit card or an auto loan until your home loan closes.
Did you know you can access your credit report free once a year? Visit: Annual Credit Report
3. Understand your assets & liabilities.
4. Organize your paperwork.
5. Get pre-qualified for a home mortgage.
First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid
Estimate What You Can Afford
Use our handy mortgage payment calculator to determine the amount you can afford to spend on monthly payments based on your current income and expenses
If you’re unfamiliar with mortgages, we have resources on first-time home buyer loans and a Mortgage Glossary that can help educate you on the home buying process.