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The Mammoth Inspection’s Guide to First-Time Home Buyers

1. Money Makes the World Go Round

The homebuying process is centered around YOU, what you want and are ready to afford. So
before you start shopping around for your perfect home, you need to assess your financial
health and what sort of lending you will qualify for.

Now, not very many of us are fortunate or wealthy enough to walk out and buy a house in cash.
I wish, right? So, the first thing you should do is to start assessing your personal savings and
looking for accredited lenders who can provide you a mortgage.

A mortgage is essentially a loan that you use specifically for buying a home, land, etc. and is
paid back over time to the lender.

However, in order to get a mortgage, you will need to provide a down payment on the loan.
According to Realtor.com, a down payment on a mortgage should be 20% of the home’s price to
avoid added fees, but if you don’t have that much of a down payment, don’t worry. A mortgage
down payment can be as low as 10%, 5%, or even 0% for certain types of mortgages (e.g., VA
loans or a USDA loan).

NOTE: The homebuying process can have a lot of up-front costs and you shouldn’t even begin
the process without at least three months of living expenses saved away.

2. Put it on my Tab? Assessing Your Credit Score

Generally, you will need a good credit score in order to qualify for a mortgage. According to Invetopedia, a credit score is “a number between 300–850 that depicts a consumer’s creditworthiness. The higher the score, the better a borrower looks to potential lenders. A credit score is based on credit history: number of open accounts, total levels of debt, and repayment history, and other factors. Lenders use credit scores to evaluate the probability that an individual will repay loans in a timely manner.”

To a lender, a high credit score will demonstrate a high likelihood of you paying your loans off in a timely manner and thus, increase your odds of securing a lower interest rate on your home loan.

It is essential to the process of homebuying to know your credit score. We have provided two easy, accredited ways to determine your credit score:

  • One of the easiest ways to learn your credit score is to contact your personal credit card or banking institution. Companies like Discover and Capital One offer free FICO credit score screenings.
  • You can also access a free credit score assessment online through CreditKarma.com.

For more information on what “good credit” is and what home lenders are looking for, Realtor.com provides an excellent article explaining in more detail what we have already discussed.

3. Let’s get Pre-Approved!

Now that you’ve got a firm grasp on your credit score and general financial health, it’s time to get our toes wet. One of the most important things you can do at this point is to get preapproved for a loan from an accredited loan agency.

Getting pre-approved for your home loan is essentially a mortgage application.

A loan officer will go through your financial history and assess your credit history to determine how much they will loan you and at what monthly rate you can likely afford. This can serve as a way to lock in the price-range of your home purchase and what future payments on your mortgage can look like.

Keep in mind, being pre-qualified is different from being pre-approved. Pre-qualification is a much similar process and does not include a guarantee from the lender that they will provide the loan. Pre approval is virtually a guarantee that you are creditworthy and have the funds to purchase a home.

4. Finding a Realtor

We recommend that most fire-time homebuyers opt to work with a Realtor, or at the minimum work with a real estate agent. These industry professionals will help you with finding homes that fit your specifications, negotiate for a better deal, and answer any questions you may have along the way!

It is important to note that there is a difference between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent. Per Realtor.com, a real estate agent is someone who has a professional license to help people buy, sell, or rent all sorts of housing and real estate.

On the other hand, a Realtor will have similar qualifications as a Real Estate Agent but is required to be a member of the National Association of Realtors, which holds their members to a higher degree of ethical expectation.

Here is a useful tool for finding Realtors and Agents in your area!

5. Now the Fun Part!

Now that the final pennies have been counted up, your mortgage ducks are all in a row, it’s time for some fun! There are many ways for you to start your househunting ambitions and we have listed below a few websites that can help kickstart your search:

Make sure that you have planned out what you are looking for in a home and consider how long you may be living there before jumping straight for that cheap fixer upper. Being specific is important and don’t be afraid to mention your needs to your realtor or real estate agent as they can help accommodate your wants and needs!

6. Make an offer

Get that checkbook ready, because this is when the money starts flowing. Now that you’ve
found your ideal home, you need to make an offer on the home. The offer is a specific process
that you will want the help of your agent to navigate. RocketMortgage offers an excellent
step-by-step on how to make an offer on a home!

7. Inspection Time

This is where we at Mammoth Home Inspections come in! We can’t stress enough how important it is for you to get a home inspection prior to purchasing your home. Not only will most agents and realtors require that you get one before final paperwork is signed, it is in your best interest to assess the physical strength and health of the property you are about to purchase. This can give you a clue as to any potential problems your property is facing and may encounter in the future. For more information, check out our article on why it is important that you get a home inspector!

It is at this time that the lender will conduct a home appraisal to ensure that the property is a
good investment. This is similar to a home inspection but done by the lender rather than the buyer.

8. Let’s Close Out

It’s the big day when weeks or months of planning come to a close. This is the point in the process where all the interested parties come together, hand over the keys, and the checks are exchanged. Unfortunately, you should expect that most of the checks are going to be coming out of your pocket as there are a number of costs associated with closing and can sometimes amount to as much as 7% of the home price. Investopedia provides a detailed description of what to expect in terms of closing costs when you are ready to buy your new property.

9. Move in!

You’ve secured the loans, you’ve negotiated a great deal, and finally gotten the keys to a big empty home, all you have to do now is move in! Congratulations on becoming a new homeowner!

For some tips on the cost of routine home maintenance, check out our blog!

If you are interested in buying a property and are looking for a quote? CLICK HERE, feel free to
reach out to us at Mammoth Home Inspections and we would be happy to lend a helping hand!

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