Okay, first-time buyers, it's time to turn the dream into the dirt you can stand on—your very own home. I'm sure you have questions. I'm sure your questions are like most first-time buyers, which is why I've put together this down-and-dirty answer guide for the most common questions home buyers have.
1. What kind of credit score do I need to have? Generally, 630 or above is what you'll want to have. The better your score, the better the terms will be on your loan. Some lenders may give you wiggle room on this, but it all depends on the circumstances. Again, a loan professional can help you navigate this as you go.
2. How much of a down payment is required? Some loans will let you in for as low as 3% - 5% of the home's value, but I would consider 5% to be the floor. More is better, especially if your credit isn't as optimal as you'd like it to be. Again, working with a loan officer will help.3. What's the first step to home buying? Getting pre-approval for a mortgage is the first step towards a successful transaction. Don't shop for a home until you know what you can afford. There's no use in falling in love with a $300,000 home in your dream neighborhood if the banks will only write you a loan of $150,000.
4. How much do I have to pay my real estate agent? You don't have to pay your real estate agent as a buyer. The seller is responsible for listing fees, including a portion of those fees delivered to your agent for helping with the transaction.
5. Why should I use a real estate agent? Like a lawyer, doctor, or other professional hired to represent your interests, the agent will not only advise you about the transaction but protect and facilitate the process.
6. How long does it take to buy a house? After you find the home you want to buy, it generally takes between 30 and 45 days. The home search can take longer, however, so have a clear idea of what you're looking for and able to afford. (Your agent can help you with this. Another reason to have one on your side!)