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5 Tips for First Time Home Buyers: Where to Start

first time home buyersBuying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life. It’s a big step, and the process can be overwhelming for first time home buyers. However, there are ways to prepare and alleviate some of the stress. Here are 5 of our tips for first time home buyers.

5 Steps for First Time Home Buyers

1. Check your credit report.

The first thing a bank will look at when determining if they will grant you a mortgage is your credit score. Before you start the home buying process, know your credit score and check your credit report for any inaccuracies and get those taken care of. If your credit score is lower than it should be to purchase a house (700 is usually considered a good score), take a few months to improve it.

2. Save as much as you can for the down payment.

The larger the down payment you have, the better. Most people try to have a 20% down payment saved up. Take a look at your budget and see if there are places you can cut expenses, such as cutting cable or eating out less.

3. Pay your bills on time.

Late payments can be damaging to your credit report, which in turn can make it harder for you to get a mortgage. Make sure to get on track with your credit cards, utilities, and student loan payments. Set up a schedule and budget in order to pay bills as soon as they are due.

4. Take a first time home buyer course.

A home buyer education course can offer you a wealth of information, advice, and budgeting tips for first time home buyers. Plus, you get a certificate at the end. With a certificate, you will qualify for many loan products that you wouldn’t otherwise qualify for. The certificate is good for two years after completion. ACCC offers these courses, including an online home buyer course.

5. Do your research.

Besides the cost of the house itself, there are property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, banking fees, and repairs you’ll need to consider. Do your research on these costs before committing to a house!

What not to do:

  • Don’t increase debts. Your debt-to-income ratio is important for loan approval. If you start increasing your debt-to-income ratio before you plan on buying a house, you could jeopardize your ability to close the loan.
  • Don’t change jobs. Banks like you to have a stable job and salary if you are trying to get approved for a mortgage. You should be in the same job for at least 2 years to show steady employment.

With these tips, you can make a plan to move forwards towards home ownership. Check out our Homeownership & Financing Pinterest board.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Madison

Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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