Dated: 01/16/2015

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Before starting the process, check your credit report and score. Don't forget to check for errors on your report to make sure you are getting the right score. The higher your score is, the better loan you'll qualify for. 

Also, take into account that if you do buy a home, there are extra responsibilities and costs that go along with owning a home-such as lawn care, home maintenance and repairs, etc.

Here's how easy it is to find your 1st home:

Step 1: Figure out How Much You Can Afford

There are several online mortgage calculators that will help you calculate an affordable monthly mortgage payment. One website that I have used when I, myself, was househunting was

Remember that you'll need money for a down payment, closing costs, fees (such as fees for an attorney, appraisal, inspection, admin fees, etc.) and the costs of remodeling or furniture. The good thing is there are loans available with little to no down payment. I used my local credit union to answer loan questions, it is important to ask the experienced loan experts. 

It is essential to get a pre-approval from the bank/lender so that you know how much loan you are approved for. Your offer will be taken more seriously when you have a pre-aproval letter from the bank/lender. This lender/bank you get the pre-approval letter from, is not your locked in mortgage company, once you find that dream home, then you can shop around for the best mortgage company.

Step 2: Find the Right Real Estate Agent for you.

Finding someone to guide you from step 1 to the closing of your home, is very important. Someone who can answer your questions while feeling comfortable that you are getting honest responses, will ease some of home buying stress that comes with house hunting. Your agent should be able to assist you in every step of the way, providing you with resources without being biased.

Step 3: Look for the Right Home

Write down the list of the things you'll need and want to have in the house. How many bedrooms and bathrooms? How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you want walk-in closets and a garage? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?

Once you've made a list of your must-have's, don't forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Take into account your safety concerns as well as how good the rate of home appreciation is in the area.

Remember: Location, location, location!

Step 4: Make an Offer on the Home

Okay,you've found the home you want, Now, you have to make an offer. Most sellers price their homes a bit high, expecting that there will be some haggling involved. A decent place to start is about five percent below the asking price. Your real estate agent can show you how much comparable homes have sold for. Once you've made your offer, don't think it's final. The seller may make a counter-offer to which you can also counter-offer. But you don't want to go back and forth too much. Somewhere, you have to meet in the middle. Once you've agreed on a price, you'll make an earnest money deposit, which is money that goes in escrow to give the seller a sign of good faith.

Step 5: Get the Right Mortgage for Your Situation

Once your offer is accepted,start shopping for the right mortgage. There are many different types of mortgage programs out there, but as a first-time home buyer, you should be aware of the three basics: adjustable rate, fixed rate and interest-only. Remember to ask your mortgage lender or mortgage banker lots of questions about which mortgage is right for you and your situation.

** Some buyers are hesitant to start the process because of the 20% down payment, they are afraid they can not afford it. Good news!! there are programs out there that has minimal to no down payment. I have an FHA loan which only required me 3.5% down payment!!

Step 6: Close on Your Home

Home inspection is essential to find out if there are things in the house that need repair. It will be well-worth the money spent since it ensures the property's structural soundness and good condition.

Setting the closing date that is convenient to both parties may be tricky, but can certainly be done. Remember that you may have to wait until your rental agreement runs out and the seller may have to wait until they close on their new house.

Be sure you talk to your mortgage banker to understand all the costs that will be involved with the closing so there are no surprises. Closing costs will likely include (but are not limited to) your down payment, title fees, appraisal fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, and points you may have bought to buy down your interest rate.

Step 7: Move In!

Yehey! you finally are ready to move in. House hunting need not be stressful, it can be fun and exciting! Choose a friendly, knowledgeable real esate agent, because she is the key to helping you have a fun, suave home buying experience!

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Florida Rodriguez

We just purchased our first home today and I cannot thank Florida enough for all her help. She is very professional and very thorough in assisting us since day 1. She always make herself available and....

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