First-Time Home Buyer Advice
You can’t know everything there is to know about buying a home, especially when you’re a first-time homebuyer.
How much down payment do I need for a house?
Many first-time homebuyers believe they have to put 20 percent down on a home. But that’s far from true.
Why do people say you need 20% down?
Average down payments are well under 20 percent. So why do so many people say 20 percent down is the minimum.
How to choose a mortgage lender as a first time home buyer
One of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make is not shopping around for a mortgage.
What credit score do you need to buy a house for the first time?
Most loan programs require a credit score of 620 or higher to buy a house for the first time. That includes conventional loans, most VA loans, and USDA loans (which require 640+).
What qualifies you as a first-time buyer?
If you’re buying your first-ever home, you’re a “first-time homebuyer” by default.
Do I need a home inspection?
Some loan types, like the FHA and VA mortgage programs, require a home inspection to make sure the home meets requirements for safety and affordability.
What are points? How do I know if I should buy them or not?
A point is simply 1 percent of the loan amount. If you choose to “buy your rate down,” or pay “discount points,” you will get a lower interest rate.
What is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is an insurance policy that makes homeownership possible for homebuyers who don’t want to make a 20 percent down payment.

First-Time Home Buyers

If you are a first-time home buyer, use the guide below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home in Northwest, GA.

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes - things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller.
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
    1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
    2. A list or file of the properties that your agent has shown to you.
    3. Paper and pen for taking notes as you search.
    4. A camera to snap pictures of homes you have toured to help you remember your favories and features you really liked.
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).

All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.


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Greater Atlanta Home Search September 29, 2022
5940
Listed
55
Avg. DOM
$250.63
Avg. $ / Sq.Ft.
$435,078
Med. List Price
5938 Properties
Page 1 of 495
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Listing information last updated on September 29, 2022 at 11:30 AM EST.