No matter when you plan on purchasing your first home, start saving now. The more money you have saved up for a down payment, the better deal you're likely to get. While there are programs out there that allow for a lower down payment than the traditional 20%, you want to save up as much cash as possible to cover not only the down payment but also closing costs and any unexpected expenses that may come up. You also don't want to drain your savings to buy your first home, so it's important you keep a separate fund for emergencies.
2. Determine How Much You Can Afford.
While the house hunting process can be super exciting, don't jump in too soon. You'll first want to make sure you know how much you can afford in a home. The best way to do this is to get a Lake of the Ozarks mortgage pre-approval. Keep in mind that just because you are approved for a certain amount, that doesn't mean you should spend that much on your house. Make sure that you are comfortable with what the monthly mortgage payment will be after taxes, insurance, etc. are added in.
3. Keep Your Credit in Check.
Your credit score has a big impact on your mortgage approval and the rates that you qualify for. Not only do you want to check your credit before applying for a mortgage to make sure there aren't any mistakes on your report, you want to ensure your credit situation doesn't change during the process. That means pause any credit activity until after the closing on your new home at the Lake of the Ozarks. New credit inquiries can ding your credit and increased credit limits can affect your debt-to-income ratio. Make sure you don't rack up a bunch of purchases, like buying new furniture or incurring additional charges on your existing credit cards. Changes like this could cause delays or complications with your mortgage approval.
4. Research Your Mortgage Options.
There are a wide variety of Lake of the Ozarks home financing options out there. You'll want to do some research to determine what the right program is for you. Don't worry, your mortgage professional at the Lake of the Ozarks can help you with this step. Together you will discuss your options and choose the best mortgage for your situation. As a first-time home buyer, we do offer the First Place Loan Program that includes cash assistance for down payment and closing costs.
Finding a good real estate agent is just as important as finding the right lender. You will be working closely with both your lender and agent during the home buying process and you want to make sure you're working with people you can trust. You want a buyer's agent that has experience, is highly skilled, motivated to work for you and is knowledgeable about the area. A good buyer's agent will help you find a home that meets your needs and fits your budget. You want someone that's willing to negotiate for you, and is good at it. Ask your friends, family and even your lender for recommendations on a local real estate agent, but you should interview a few of them before making your decision.
6. Be Willing to Compromise.
When it comes to buying a home at the Lake of the Ozarks, it's easy to get swept up in all the excitement. Make sure that you are making your decisions based on more than just your emotions. Be willing to compromise when needed. While you don't want to be too picky, you also need to be realistic. When your funds are limited, you might have to take some items off your wishlist. Be sure that you're not lacking vision. If you find a home that meets your needs, you can always change the paint color or replace the flooring down the road. Don't let physical imperfections turn you away from a great deal on a new home.
7. Get a Home Inspection.
The home inspection is something that, as a buyer, you don't want to skip out on. You want to make sure you know exactly what shape the house is in before you close on it. One of the worst things that can happen to a first-time home buyer is to close on a home and then find some major problems after the fact that could be costly. Any issues that come up during the inspection are leverage for the buyer to negotiate repairs or a reduced price with the seller. If something major comes up on the inspection, you will have saved yourself the headache of investing in a money-pit.
If you're ready to take the plunge and become a first-time home buyer, I'm here to help you every step of the way. As your Lake of the Ozarks mortgage lender, I'll discuss your financing options, offer competitive interest rates and back it up with the first-class service you deserve. Give me a call today at 573-746-7211 to get started today!
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Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #: 493712
4655 B Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Cell: (573) 216-7258
**The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent First State Bank of St Charles’s positions, strategies, or opinions.