For someone who has never bought a home before, the process can be overwhelming and intimidating. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. In this homebuyer guide we’ll talk about getting your down payment together, getting assistance with your down payment if you need it, pre-qualifying for a mortgage, working with the right agent for you, and making an offer to seal the deal. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to buy your first home.
1. Save It Up
The first step in any home purchase is making sure you have enough money saved away for your down payment. In the past, the recommended down payment has been 20% of the home’s value. In a seller’s market with rising home prices, it can be difficult for many people to come up with that much. Fortunately, programs like FHA loans require as little as 3.5% down. Learning how much you can put down on your new home will also help you determine how much house you can afford. Knowing your budget will help when you go to get pre-qualified for a loan.
2. Get Assistance
If the down payment is a roadblock on your path to homeownership, you may qualify for assistance. There are several down payment assistance programs available for prospective Utah homebuyers. Depending on your situation and where you live, you may even qualify for more than one program. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Here are a few local Utah down payment assistance resources you can apply for:
- UHC Down Payment Assistance Program
- West Valley Down Payment Assistance
- Own in Ogden
- CDCU Down Payment Assistance
- Individual Development Account
- FHLB Home$tart
- Chenoa Fund
3. Get Pre-Qualified
Going to a lender to get prequalified for a loan is where you’ll want to go next to start your home search. When you know how much you can borrow, you can narrow your search to homes within your price range. Making sure your credit score is healthy can help you get a better interest rate and borrow more money. As with many big financial decisions, it’s a good idea to shop around at different lenders to see who can give you the best deal. You can always get a loan from Homie Loans. Homie Loans will give you $500 if they can’t get you the best rate available.*
4. Meet Your Special Someone…Your Agent
Once you get pre-qualified, and possibly even beforehand, you’ll want to start working with a quality real estate agent. Look for someone who knows the ins and outs of your local market. Online ratings can help you determine the level of service you’ll get from a given agent. Working with a real estate agent is not required to buy a home, but having an expert familiar with the intricacies of the homebuying process can really help. If you haven’t found an agent that you can trust to guide you through your first home purchase, consider using one of Homie’s helpful agents.
5. Find The Dream Home
You can start searching for the home that’s just right for you at any point in this process. This step can seem overwhelming, especially if there are a lot of homes on the market. A few rules of thumb can help. First, know your budget. Knowing how much house you can afford can really narrow down your search and make it manageable. That’s why many people get pre-qualified first. Second, keep a list of need-to-haves and nice-to-haves. That way, you’ll know what’s most important in the home you want to purchase. Prioritizing can go a long way in helping you make the best decision possible. Thankfully, technology has made searching out and touring a home quicker and easier than ever.
6. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
When you have finally found the home you want to buy, work closely with your agent to decide what your offer should be. Many factors, such as market conditions and comparable home values, can have an effect on your offer. Once you’ve made your offer, the home seller can choose to accept it, make a counteroffer, or decline it. An experienced agent can help you navigate to the appropriate response to each of these scenarios.
Now that you know a thing or two about the home buying process, hopefully you feel more ready to take the plunge and buy your very first home. Even if you’re not quite there yet, you can start searching homes and learn more about the buying process here.
*Subject to Terms & Conditions.
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