The Alamo City is becoming increasingly popular for homebuyers, but San Antonio is still the most affordable major metro area in the state. As home prices continue to rise and the market gets more competitive, now is a great opportunity for first-time homebuyers to start researching what goes into purchasing a house.
The process can seem overwhelming at first, but with these tips from the expert agents at Realty San Antonio, who have helped many first-time homebuyers successfully get into their first homes, you’re sure to feel more confident.
1. Optimize your credit score
When you start the planning process and begin thinking more seriously about your finances, one of the best things you can do is check and improve your credit health. If you are applying for a mortgage, lenders won’t just look at the number — they’ll also look at the contents of your credit report to gain a better understanding of your finances as a whole. Be aware of what is on your credit report and resolve any issues or incorrect information with the credit bureau.
2. Keep your hopes up
While finances are important, another factor to consider during the home-buying process is your mindset. Searching for a home in a seller’s market can come with challenges, but you aren’t facing those challenges by yourself when you have an experienced agent by your side. Try not to think that buying a house is out of your reach or too complicated before you take advantage of all of the resources available to you.
3. Get professional advice
That leads right to the next tip, which is to work with a professional. Just like a DIY haircut in your kitchen can be stressful and produce less-than-desired results, the same is true for real estate. When you want a great haircut, you trust the professionals. Doing the same with your home search right off the bat by finding a great agent will eliminate a lot of unknowns and set you up for success.
4. Research the market
While you don’t need to be an expert by any means, understanding what the real estate market is like when you are looking to buy a home will keep you from being surprised by unexpected trends, and it will empower you to figure out a better game plan with your agent.
5. See what programs are available in your state
Many states offer resources to first-time homebuyers if you look around a bit. Looking at information from the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation can help you understand if you qualify for any specific loans or programs that are available to you under the criteria of being a first-time homebuyer.
6. Plan for the unexpected
While you may have started saving for your down payment and considered how much you can spend on a home, a solid tip is to make sure you’re prepared for extra costs. For example, you’ll need to have enough for your closing costs, typically 2-5 percent of the loan amount. You’ll also want to plan for costs like movers, furniture, immediate repairs, and anything else you might need to get set up in your new home.
7. Obtain a pre-approval letter
When you start home shopping and begin to feel certain properties tug at your heartstrings, take a moment to step back. You don’t want to spend your time looking at and falling in love with a home that’s actually outside of what you’ll be approved for.
While a pre-qualification letter (a helpful tool that lets you estimate what you can afford) is useful, a pre-approval letter has more strength behind it. This letter is a much more accurate analysis of what you will qualify for, and it is issued by the lender. While it’s not a guarantee that you’ll necessarily be approved for a certain loan, it is the closest you can get to a “yes” before going all the way through with the loan. This also helps your agent serve you best, and it signifies to buyers that you are serious.
8. It’s never too early to ask questions
This is new to you, and that’s okay. When you start your home-buying search for the first time, it makes sense that you will have a lot of questions. So, ask away! Your agent is happy to help you navigate the process clearly.
Asking questions and really listening to the answers can expand your knowledge of a situation, allowing you to learn more and ask even better questions that will make your life as a first-time buyer much easier. But s big pro tip is that you don’t need to wait to start asking questions until you’re starting the process.
Even if you are simply thinking about homeownership, you can meet with a mortgage lender to understand where you need to be. Also ask yourself questions. Do you want to live in this area for years to come? The average mortgage term is 30 years. Do you plan to start a family? You’ll want to keep schools in mind.
When you’re ready to make the move, use the free search tool at realtysanantonio.com.