Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

shelby, Home Buyer in Seattle, WA

First time homebuyer here! I don't think I could purchase a home right this second, but I think in two years it's a realistic and attainable goal.

Asked by shelby, Seattle, WA Mon Oct 15, 2012

I'm not sure where to start and I have no idea how much home I could possibly afford. Where should I begin? Thank you!

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As several others have suggested, there are a variety of ways to find out how much home you can afford. You are taking a good first step in thinking about this major purchase now. Working with a professional, whether they be a mortgage broker, loan officer or Realtor, can help you refine your plans and help insure your success. You might also be suprised at how soon you can qualify to purchase a home. There are several good programs aimed at helping you become a home owner. Again, any of the professionals listed above can help you with connecting with these programs. Good luck with your home plans!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
Hi Shelby,

The best first action for you to take is to do an Initial Consulation with one of the brokers who responded to your question.

In my Initial Consulation, I ask thought provoking questions to help you clarify your goals and the problems you want to solve. And, I have a presentation for First time Home Buyers. Also, it is wise, even at this early time, for you to meet with a lender to find out what financing options are available and what actions you may need to take to qualify for a loan.

There are a variety of loan programs to help First time Home Buyers get into their first home with gifting, seller paid costs and / or 3% to 3.5% down payment options.

On my website, http://www.karenmcknight.com , I have a button on the left where you can order the book titled, Your First Home.

Warm Regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 28, 2012
Hi Shelby;

consider the following;

1.plan on staying a while
2.Get pre approved
3.Study all your mortgage options carefully
4.Aim for a bigger down payment
5.Get your own inspector

for more reading and further advice check out this link http://www.realtypin.com/news/Story/746-5-Things-to-Do-Befor… and check out our website for more listings.

Outreach specialist - Realty pin
Web Reference: http://www.realtypin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2012
Hi Shelby,

1. You can start by putting some numbers into online mortgage calculators.
2. Ask friends who they use for a mortgage broker.
3. Ask friends who they use for a real estate agent.
4. Narrow down where you want to live.
5. Start going to open houses.
6. Start saving for your down payment.

Good Luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
Shelby, the best way to get things started is to have a lender "pre-qualify" you for a loan. I work w/ several reputable lenders so if you would like to get an idea of what you qualify for you can contact me @ cwbaldwin45@msn.com or 253-224-1386. Thanks, Craig Baldwin, Managing Broker, Better Properties
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
Chris Loeliger brings up a very key point: make sure that irrespective of your pre-approval amount, you can afford that mortgage payment year over year - and over year. An honest assessment of your career, work habits, spending/saving habits, local economy and national economy all play into your reasonable reliance on future income and play a major role in whether the same mortgage will be affordable in 2, 5, or 10 years from now. A first time home-buyer seminar, like the one Dan Tabit offers, among several available, is a very prudent start. A lender is not your financial planner, so their pre-approval letter is often fairly miopic in scope and generally limited to what you can afford over the next year. I have yet to see a mortgage application that contemplates a borrower's economic profile in the ways that really identify the reasonableness of the pre-approval amount to engage a 30-year mortgage. Currently, that responsibility is entirely in borrower's hands.

For instance, an individual planning to retire in 10 years makes just enough to comfortably afford the contemplated mortgage on their dream home, has some savings and a small 401K. They have the pre-approval letter in hand, but what is their financial plan to maintain the rigorous punctuality the mortgage payment requires after retirement? Moving into a dream home, getting settled, building memories and attachments creates seductive imagery in our minds that can often compel a choice that in the bigger picture can't be sustained. A forced exit from a dream home ten years from purchase when finances change or economic conditions worsen, could lead to substantial heartache.

I know my message has a tone of doom and gloom, yet it's actually about making informed choices today that bring you happiness 5, 6, 7, 8, years from now. I sleep better at night knowing that a facilitate closings where my clients walked into escrow as informed borrowers. Consider the first time home buyer's seminar. At the same time, as many have stated below in this string, find yourself a great Realtor®; their skills can strengthen your financial advantage well beyond the initial negotiations for your home.

Best- Blake

2111 Northgate Way Suite #101
Seattle, Washington 98133
Mobile Office:206.486-LA47
Direct Cell: 206.718.0703
Mobile Fax:866.315.3937
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"Your referrals are always invited and guaranteed to receive my white glove services."
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2012
Start with your "why" be really clear what you want out of your home financially as well as lifestyle wise. Once these questions are super clear...you will find that everything else falls into place.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
All good advice.

Talk to a lender - you can walk into your bank and ask them how much of a loan you can qualify for, and what those payments would be.

Once you know what your buying power can be, then you can begin evaluating your options - neighborhoods, house styles, et cetera.

Warmest regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
Look at the Washington State Housing Finance Commission classes.
See the link below and navigate to Steps to Get Started.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
Excellent advice already, but do be aware that there are programs out there that might make it possible for you to buy now. For instance, if you have past military service you have a VA entitlement and are eligible for a 0 down lown without a monthly PMI charge. There are also USDA loans in some more rural areas that also provide a 0 down entry to the market but you do have PMI (your lender can explain this). A good lender is the best place to start, and you are wise to ask these questions before you start looking. If you have credit issues, a lender can tell you how best to clean them up. If it's just a matter of saving the down payment or waiting for a better salary, it's still good to know where you stand.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
There are some Broker's who offer first time buyer's classes. I've done a blog series on the subject. An experienced agent can help you get started. As a formerly licensed lender, it's not too hard to "pre-qualify" you financially. This would involve discussing your income, assets and what you know about your credit history. I would discuss the various types of mortgages generally available out there so you could determine if you are more ready than you think or if the next two years need to be spent working on your credit and down payment.
Once you have some basic knowledge, meeting with a great lender would be the next step to verify what we understand about your situation. If all looks good you'll have a great road map to home ownership.
I've included a link to the first in my blog series below.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
Hi Shelby,
I agree with many of statements already made here. Your first couple steps will be 1) Find a great lender that can help you determine whether your goals are realistic, how much house you can expect to afford in two years, and what kind of downpayment you should expect to save. Also, chat with them about how you can max your credit score! Your financial strength will impact the type of loan for which you qualify, and thus, will impact how much home you can purchase. 2) Find a great Realtor - they will be able to tell you how much home you can purchase in which market. What you can get for $350,000 is vastly different depending on the location or neighborhood!
Warmest wishes and happy hunting!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
That's a great goal to have and you should start by talking with a good mortgage person. If you would like I could give you a few names of good people. You can reach me at david@SeattlesBestRealEstate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012

Start by finding a Realtor to help you. Talk to family & friends. Somebody you know already knows a great Realtor that can help you. Let your Realtor suggest a good lender. Realtors work with the best lenders every day. There's no need to re-invent the wheel, and gamble with a lender that you don't know. Let your Realtor guide you. It's our job to help you, from start to finish.

Armed with knowledge and some good financial advice, you'll have your finances in shape in no time. The Federal Reserve has pledged to keep interest rates low through 2014, but home prices are already on the rise. So, start getting yourself prepared to purchase today.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
Hi Shelby~

Good for you for thinking about a long term plan! Meeting with a lender and pulling your credit will help to determine if you have any issues to fix or if you have no credit, how to go about establishing credit so you can qualify for a mortgage. Loan programs can also be discussed at the time, however things could change in two years, but at least you'll have a basic idea of what to expect.

At the same time, you can meet with a real estate Broker to talk about your wants and needs in your first home. I generally set my clients up on an auto search so properties with criteria that matches their wants and needs are automatically sent as they come onto the MLS or price changes occur.

If I can help you in any way please don't hesitate to give me a call
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
Talk to a lender to work out the financials. A lender can give you guidance on what you can afford, down payment, etc. But, 2 years out is a long time. A lot can change between now and then. Also, remember, that what the lender thinks you can afford and what you think you can afford are two totally different things. So, make your budget. Look at what you have saved. Save more. Stay in your budget. Keep your credit clean.

Now, talk to a real estate agent. A good agent can get you started down the right path in terms of what to think of for amenities in a home, location, market information, etc. Again 2 years is a ways out, but any good agent should be willing to work with you through that time. (I know I have worked with buyers for that long before.)

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
I would suggest meeting / talking with a lock mortgage loan officer to begin reviewing your #s
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
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