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Financial Fundamentals for First-Time Homebuyers

Are you prepping to buy your first home? If so, one of the steps you should take early on is making sure you’re financially ready for your purchase. Here are just a few of the financial fundamentals you’ll need to focus on as you set out to buy a home.

Build Your Credit

Your credit is one element that helps determine which home loan you’ll qualify for. It also impacts your mortgage interest rate. While there are many factors that go into your mortgage application, a higher credit score could lead to a lower monthly payment in the long run.

So how do you make sure your credit is in the best shape possible when it’s time to buy? A recent article from NerdWallet lists a few tips you can use as you work to build and strengthen your credit. They include:

  • Tracking your credit and disputing any errors that show up on your reports.
  • Paying your bills on time. This includes making loan payments and paying down any open lines of credit.
  • Keeping your credit card balances low. Paying more than your minimum monthly balance when you’re able can help.

Automate Your Savings for Your House Fund

You might also be wondering how you can achieve your down payment savings goals. Bankrate provides buyers with a number of tips to help you save, including searching for down payment assistance programs and ways you can save more, faster. As the article says:

“One of the best ways to save for anything — including a down payment — is to set it and forget it. If you receive a regular paycheck, ask your employer to direct a portion of that payment into a savings account. If you’re a freelance worker or independent contractor, set up a recurring transfer from a checking account to a savings account to establish the routine.”

Get Pre-Approved

As you prepare for your purchase, you’ll also need to have a good grasp on your budget and how much you’ll be able to borrow for your home loan. That’s where the pre-approval process comes in.

Pre-approval from a lender lets you know how much money you can borrow for your home loan. And having that knowledge, plus an understanding of your savings can help you decide on your target price range for a house.

From there, you can start browsing for houses online and see what’s available in your area in that general price point. This can help you really understand your options so you can start to picture your future home.

For Customized Advice, Build a Team of Professionals

Finally, the best way to make you’re prepared for your purchase is to connect with trusted real estate professionals. Having expert advisors in the industry will help you make strong decisions throughout the home-buying process based on your specific goals, finances, and situation. They know the market and can guide you toward the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to get the homebuying process started, connect with a local real estate advisor to begin building your team of professionals today.

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About our blog

I write often to give you the latest insights on owning a home or property in the local area.

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Read More

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Today’s cooling housing market, the rise in mortgage rates, and mounting economic concerns have some people questioning: should I still buy a home this year? While it’s true this year has unique challenges for homebuyers, it’s important to factor the long-term benefits of homeownership into your decision. Read More

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If you’re thinking about buying a home, you likely have a lot of factors on your mind. You’re weighing your own needs against higher mortgage rates, today’s home prices, and more to try to decide if you want to jump into the market. While some buyers may wait things out, there’s a reason serious buyers are making moves right now, and that’s the growing number of homes for sale. Read More

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Today’s housing market is different than it was just a few months ago. And if you’re thinking about selling your house, that may leave you wondering what you need to do differently as a result. The answer is simple. Taking the time upfront to prep your house appropriately and create a solid plan can help bring in the greatest return on your investment. Read More

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If you put off your home search at any point over the past two years, you may want to consider picking it back up based on today’s housing market conditions. Recent data shows the supply of homes for sale is increasing, giving buyers like you additional options. Read More

Planning To Retire? Your Equity Can Help You Reach Your Goal.

By Admin | October 3, 2022

Whether you’ve just retired or you’re thinking about retirement, you may be considering your options and trying to picture a whole new stage of your life. And you’re not alone. Research from the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) shows 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the typical retirement age (65) every day, and only 47% of the people in that generation have already retired. Read More

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By Admin | September 29, 2022

The desire to own a home is still strong today. In fact, according to the Census, the U.S. homeownership rate is on the rise. To illustrate the increase, the graph below shows the homeownership rate over the last year: Read More

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By Admin | September 29, 2022

If you’re wondering if home prices are going to come down due to the cooldown in the housing market or a potential recession, here’s what you need to know. Not only are experts forecasting home prices will continue to appreciate nationwide this year, but most of them also actually increased their projections for home price appreciation from their original 2022 forecasts (shown in green in the chart below): Read More

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By Admin | September 26, 2022

According to a recent survey from the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of economists who believe we’ll see a recession in the next 12 months is growing. When surveyed in July 2021, only 12% of economists consulted thought there’d be a recession by now. But this July, when polled, 49% believe we will see a recession in the coming 12 months. Read More

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By Admin | September 23, 2022

Whether you’re a potential homebuyer, seller, or both, you probably want to know: will home prices fall this year? Let’s break down what’s happening with home prices, where experts say they’re headed, and why this matters for your homeownership goals. Read More

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By Admin | September 22, 2022

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Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers?

By Admin | September 19, 2022

If you tried to buy a home during the pandemic, you know the limited supply of homes for sale was a considerable challenge. It created intense bidding wars which drove home prices up as buyers competed with one another to be the winning offer Read More

Looking For Your Dream Home?

By Admin | September 16, 2022

One thing that more first-time home buyers are starting to realize is that your first home is not necessarily your dream home a lot of people are choosing to purchase at home and live in it for 1/2 maybe 3 years and then move to what would be considered a dream home and rent out that first home in 3 hours to Monday to start building so wealth. Read More

Selling Your House? Your Asking Price Matters More Now Than Ever

By Admin | September 15, 2022

There’s no doubt about the fact that the housing market is slowing from the frenzy we saw over the past two years. But what does that mean for you if you’re thinking of selling your house? While home prices are still appreciating in most markets and experts say that will continue, they’re climbing at a slower pace because rising mortgage rates are creating less buyer demand. Because of this, there are more homes on the market. And in a shift like this one, the way you price your home matters more than ever. Read More

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By Admin | September 14, 2022

on misconception about the home-buying process is that speaking to a lender costs money. So when you first start the home-buying process you can talk to a lender to understand what your purchasing power is going to look like and that conversation that you have with the lender isn't going to cost you anything. After you have a conversation you can get a pre-approval letter and be significantly better prepared and positioned when you begin to look at homes. Read More

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By Admin | September 12, 2022

When the pandemic hit in 2020, many experts thought the housing market would crash. They feared job loss and economic uncertainty would lead to a wave of foreclosures similar to when the housing bubble burst over a decade ago. Thankfully, the forbearance program changed that. It provided much-needed relief for homeowners so a foreclosure crisis wouldn’t happen again. Here’s why forbearance worked. Read More

Finding A Deal In Today’s Market

By Admin | September 9, 2022

We're in a seller's market and homes are selling very quickly. It's sometimes hard to find what you may think is a great deal. I always recommend to clients to take a look at not just what recently came to the market but homes that have been on the market for 30 or 60 more days cause sometimes there may something wrong with the property, but sometimes there’s not and they have just been sitting on the market for awhile and that can be an opportunity for you to get a good deal. Read More

Why It’s Still a Sellers’ Market

By Admin | September 8, 2022

As there’s more and more talk about the real estate market cooling off from the peak frenzy it saw during the pandemic, you may be questioning what that means for your plans to sell your house. If you’re thinking of making a move, you should know the market is still anything but normal. Read More

Finding The Neighborhood For You

By Admin | September 7, 2022

One piece of advice I have for buyers if they're thinking about moving to a new neighborhood is exploring that neighborhood. Going and hanging out on an afternoon, in the evening, and on the weekend to see what the general fee and vibe is of the neighborhood. One thing that a lot of people also don't do is try out your commute. If you drive to an office, go to your potential neighborhood in the morning or in the afternoon and try the commute from your place of employment to see if it's something that you can put up with every single day. Read More

Are We In A Housing Bubble?

By Admin | September 6, 2022

re we in a housing bubble and is it about to burst? What even causes a bubble? It’s when a sell off starts to occur and investors frantically unload their position causing the asset prices to drop dramatically. But we’re talking about people's homes, not stocks. Read More

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One

By Admin | September 5, 2022

If rising home prices leave you wondering if it makes more sense to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market, consider this. It’s not just home prices that have risen in recent years – rental prices have skyrocketed as well. As a recent article from realtor.com says: “The median rent across the 50 largest US metropolitan areas reached $1,876 in June, a new record level for Realtor.com data for the 16th consecutive month.” Read More

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

By Admin | September 1, 2022

With all the headlines and buzz in the media, some consumers believe the market is in a housing bubble. As the housing market shifts, you may be wondering what’ll happen next. It’s only natural for concerns to creep in that it could be a repeat of what took place in 2008. The good news is, there’s concrete data to show why this is nothing like the last time. Read More

Expert Housing Market Forecasts for the Second Half of the Year

By Admin | August 29, 2022

The housing market is at a turning point, and if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, that may leave you wondering: is it still a good time to buy a home? Should I make a move this year? To help answer those questions, let’s turn to the experts for projections on what the second half of the year holds for residential real estate. Read More

Should I Buy a Home Right Now?

By Admin | August 25, 2022

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, you likely have one question on the top of your mind: should I buy right now, or should I wait? While no one can answer that question for you, here’s some information that could help you make your decision. Read More

Wondering Where You’ll Move if You Sell Your House Today?

By Admin | August 22, 2022

If you put a pause on your home search because you weren’t sure where you’d go once you sold your house, it might be a good time to get back into the market. That’s because today’s market is undergoing a shift, and the supply of homes for sale is increasing as a result. That means you may have a better chance of finding a home that will meet your current needs. Here are some options to consider. Read More

Why Pre-Approval Is a Game Changer for Homebuyers

By Admin | August 18, 2022

If you’re planning to buy a home this year, you might have heard that pre-approval is a necessary step to take before starting out on your journey. But why is that? And is it still important in today’s shifting market? The truth is, getting a pre-approval letter from your lender is critical, and when it comes to your home search, it can be a game changer in so many ways. To better understand why, it’s important to know what pre-approval is. Freddie Mac defines the process like this: Read More

Should You Buy a Home with Inflation This High?

By Admin | August 15, 2022

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to bring down inflation, the latest data shows the inflation rate is still going up. You no doubt are feeling the pinch on your wallet at the gas pump or the grocery store, but that news may also leave you wondering: should I still buy a home right now? Read More

Think Home Prices Are Going To Fall? Think Again

By Admin | August 11, 2022

Over the last two years, the rate of home prices appreciated at a dramatic pace. While that led to incredible equity gains for homeowners, it’s also caused some buyers to wonder if home prices will fall. It’s important to know the housing market isn’t a bubble about to burst, and home price growth is supported by strong market fundamentals. Read More

A Real Estate Professional Helps You Separate Fact from Fiction

By Admin | August 8, 2022

If you’re following the news, chances are you’ve seen or heard some headlines about the housing market that don’t give the full picture. The real estate market is shifting, and when that happens, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help debunk the headlines so you can really understand today’s market and what it means for you. Read More

What’s Causing Ongoing Home Price Appreciation?

By Admin | August 4, 2022

If you’re thinking about making a move, you probably want to know what’s going to happen to home prices for the rest of the year. While experts say price growth will moderate due to the shifting market, ongoing appreciation is expected. That means home prices won’t fall. Here’s a look at two key reasons experts forecast continued price growth: supply and demand. Read More

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers

By Admin | August 1, 2022

Mortgage rates are much higher today than they were at the beginning of the year, and that’s had a clear impact on the housing market. As a result, the market is seeing a shift back toward the range of pre-pandemic levels for buyer demand and home sales. Read More

Want To Buy a Home? Now May Be the Time.

By Admin | July 28, 2022

There are more homes for sale today than at any time last year. So, if you tried to buy a home last year and were outbid or out priced, now may be your opportunity. The number of homes for sale in the U.S. has been growing over the past four months as rising mortgage rates help slow the frenzy the housing market saw during the pandemic. Read More

Curb Appeal: Simple Ideas To Boost Your Home Value

By Admin | June 28, 2022

When homebuyers cruise past your property on the way to a nearby home that’s listed for sale, they make judgments about the neighborhood based on what they see. Read More

Four Ways Buying a Condo is Different from Buying a Home

By Zachary Petrocca | June 21, 2022

As a potential homebuyer, you may look at a variety of property types before making your final decision. Will a condo work for your lifestyle? Maybe you’re thinking about a single-family home with a big yard for your family. Either way, making the decision between a home or a condominium is much easier when you know the ins and outs of financing each and how they differ from each other. Read More

What’s the Difference Between an Appraisal and an Inspection?

By Zachary Petrocca | June 14, 2022

Home appraisals are done by an appraiser to help set a value of your home. Lenders use an appraisal to make sure they’re not lending a borrower more than the value of the home and that your buyers haven’t paid you more than your home is worth. Read More

3 Common Questions When Buying a Vacation Home

By Zachary Petrocca | June 7, 2022

Are you thinking about buying a vacation home? If so, there are a few questions I'm sure you have. Fortunately, we have the answers, so that you can be fully prepared when you make the decision to buy a vacation home. Read More

Is This Your Situation: Why Isn’t My Home Selling?

By Zachary Petrocca | May 31, 2022

Your home could be languishing on the market simply because the market is down. However, in a seller's market like today, the culprit is likely something simple and easily correctable. If your home is seeing no interest, ask yourself these five questions: Read More

Is This Your Situation: Buying a Second Home and Renting the First?

By Zachary Petrocca | May 24, 2022

We all love our first home, however, as time goes on, you may find yourself ready to move on to bigger and better things. Whether you need more space, want to move to a new area, or are just looking to upgrade, it might be time to find a new home. But when you find a new place, what happens to your first home? Rather than selling, many homeowners are discovering the benefits of renting out their first home when they move on to the next. Read More

4 Speedy Tips to Prep Your Home for a Showing in Under 30 Minutes

By Zachary Petrocca | May 17, 2022

There’s a saying, you only have one opportunity to make a first impression. This is true for all things—the first time you meet someone new, a job interview or the first time you show your house for sale. The first impression is lasting and can determine if you hook a buyer for your house. Read More

The Myth of the 20% Down Payment

By Zachary Petrocca | May 10, 2022

You may have been told that you should put down 20% to buy a home. This may give you more choices and let you avoid private mortgage insurance, but this large amount may not be prudent, or necessary, in all circumstances. Some experts advise keeping your mortgage down payment small — a strategy that sets you up so you'll be better assured of liquidity when life happens. Read More

Is This Your Situation: Getting Your Home Ready for an Open House?

By Zachary Petrocca | May 3, 2022

Selling your home can be hectic, so you might not have a ton of free time to focus on upgrades. Fortunately, there are a few easy fixes that can be done in a weekend. These tips will help you to get your home in the best shape for open houses without being too expensive or labor intensive. Making a good first impression can go a long way towards negotiating the successful sale of your home. Read More

Is This Your Situation: Buying a Home as a Single

By Zachary Petrocca | April 26, 2022

Buying a home alone doesn’t have to be intimidating. Now, more singles than ever are taking this big step alone. To make sure that your home buying experience is successful, use these five tips for buying a home alone. Read More

5 Common Homebuyer Turnoffs and How to Avoid Them

By Zachary Petrocca | April 19, 2022

Buyers click with a home on an instinctive level more times than not. Even after weighing the dollars and cents, a prospective buyer may make an offer on a home that costs more than they budgeted for or walk away from a home that is priced exactly right. Sometimes it's something as simple as a bad first impression like these: Read More

4 Tips for Attending Open Houses

By Zachary Petrocca | April 12, 2022

Attending an open house is the exciting first step most prospective homeowners take in their journey to find their dream home. It can be filled with many fun first experiences like talking with a Realtor or formulating ideas of what you want in your home, however, it can also be a little overwhelming. The key to locating the perfect home is attending as many open houses as you can and taking in all the information you can about purchasing a home. You must have a good strategy for attending each open house. Read More

Is This Your Situation: Buying a Home While Selling Your Old One?

By Zachary Petrocca | April 5, 2022

In a typical home buying process, there are nerves, panic and pure frustration. But just think of the headaches created when you have to sell your house and buy a new one at the same time. If your timing is off, you could wind up paying two house payments each month until your house gets sold. Follow these 3 steps to time your move correctly. Read More

5 Simple Home Buying Mistakes that Have a Big Impact

By Zachary Petrocca | March 29, 2022

Buying a home can be a stressful process. Your home is most likely the most expensive item you will purchase this year - or even this decade - so you will want to make sure that you're not falling prey to simple mistakes that many homebuyers make. Making even one of these mistakes can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Read More

Is This Your Situation: What Do I Need to Disclose to the Buyer Before Selling My Home?

By Zachary Petrocca | March 22, 2022

Are you selling your home? If you're parting ways with your home in the near future or thinking about selling later on down the road, there's a number of things you must disclose to the potential buyer depending on the state in which you reside. Some of the suggestions on the list might surprise you, so it's best to do your research and know everything you need to reveal before diving into a deal. With your legal requirements and civil duties as a seller in mind, don’t sell your home without disclosing these seven things. Read More

Is This Your Situation: What Happens After Someone Makes an Offer on My Home?

By Zachary Petrocca | March 15, 2022

The exciting moment when an offer to purchase your home comes in can also feel a little overwhelming. One common first impulse is to ask "How much are they offering?" While price is an important factor, it's also important to sit back and look at the big picture when negotiating a sale. Consider the following: Read More

12 Ways to Invest Less Than $1,000 in Your Home and Sell It for More

By Zachary Petrocca | March 8, 2022

When it’s time to sell, every homeowner wants to get the highest sales price possible. One of the best strategies to keep the price high is to eliminate reasons for buyers to reduce their offers. At first glance, it may seem counterproductive to spend money when you’re trying to sell your home for the best price, but it does make sense. A thoughtful and limited cash infusion to your home will make it show better, perhaps function better, and attract more homebuyers. Read More

Understanding Closing Costs

By Zachary Petrocca | March 1, 2022

Closing costs are an essential expense of homebuying and include a variety of payments beyond your property's purchase price. Part of the closing cost, the real estate agent commissions, is paid by home sellers. Read More

5 Reasons Not To Fear Selling Your Home

By Zachary Petrocca | February 22, 2022

Selling your home can be stressful, we know. But, having an experienced resource on your side (like us, your real estate professionals), can help alleviate the anxiety and make your home-selling experience smooth. Read More

What Every Seller Needs To Know About Renovating This Year

By Zachary Petrocca | February 15, 2022

If you’re planning to sell this year, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to do to get your house ready to appeal to the most buyers. It’s crucial to work with a trusted real estate professional who knows your local market to get your home ready to sell. But there are a few things you should consider when deciding what to renovate and update before listing this season. Here are three things to keep top of mind as you’re making your list of projects to tackle this year... Read More

Is This Your Situation: Buying a House While Selling Another One?

By Zachary Petrocca | February 15, 2022

Everyone talks about the steep learning curve of buying your first home, and they're right to. But your first purchase is also the easiest home purchase you'll ever make. After that, you need to not only find a new home but also find a buyer for your current home. Most confusingly of all, if you're like many people, most of your wealth is tied up in your home. Does that mean you can't get preapproved for a mortgage until you've sold your home? Where do you live in the meantime? Read More

Is This Your Situation: Trying To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal?

By Zachary Petrocca | February 10, 2022

When you've lived in a property for years, you seldom think about how it looks to outsiders. After all, you know your home from the inside out, and when you have concerns about it, they're often about something invisible or out of sight, whether it's the plumbing in the bathroom or the storage space in the attic. But when you're selling the house, the most important thing is the exterior. That's what will give a potential buyer a first impression that will shape the rest of the tour. So how do you make sure your house wows buyers from the first glance? Read More

The Top Indicator if You Want To Know Where Mortgage Rates Are Heading

By Zachary Petrocca | February 8, 2022

Mortgage rates have increased significantly since the beginning of the year. Each Thursday, Freddie Mac releases its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. According to the latest survey, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen from 3.22% at the start of the year to 3.55% as of last week. This is important to note because any increase in mortgage rates changes what a purchaser can afford. To give you an idea of how rising mortgage rates impact your purchasing power... Read More