In the past First time buyers only had to be breathing, and the House had to appraise at a value that justified a Mortgage. This is why we have so many Foreclosures and short sales. First time buyers from the mid 2000;s are now sitting in rentals with very bad credit scores licking their wounds from the up market of the time!
There are First Time Buyer programs out there now to help you in the process of buying foreclosure homes, and they maybe other credits and programs that you can apply for, have your Realtor go over what there is available to you. If you don't have a Realtor yet please call me! Also find out how your credit is at the moment, you need the scores for both you and your spouse, if both are not over 680 the reality is that you can not afford any home with a mortgage, you need to repair you credit first or buy a home with cash!
1) Before Buying a Home, Get Your Finances In Order. Line up your financing, set aside a down payment and study the loan programs available. By doing your homework, you will know exactly how much you can pay and what it will cost you.
2) Pick a Real Estate Agent to Help With Buying a Home. With so much information available online, you might wonder why you need an agent at all. But all local markets vary from one another, and a good agent can guide you by giving you information based on experience and market knowledge.
3) Learn How to Avoid Home Buying Mistakes. The best way to avoid making a mistake it to learn from the mistakes others have made. Buying a home in a desirable location is your best defense. Remember: location, location, location.
4) Make an Offer and Negotiate Like a Pro. Although buying a home is not like buying a car, for example, you can still negotiate to get a good price.
5) Get a Home Inspection and Read Disclosures. Never buy a home without getting a home inspection. Most states have laws about the types of disclosures you are entitled to receive.
Once you have established that with a lender, do not purchase anything you don't have to. No cars, boats furniture etc. Keep building on your savings account. Keep your bills paid on time. Credit is the key factor to getting a good interest rate.
And, of course, as we always say and as Debbie has already suggest............do your research and educate yourselves. The more you know the easier the transition will be. I like to recommend that you ask friends, family, co-workers etc. to find an agent that fits both in personality and knowledge and patience.
I strongly advise signing a buyer agency agreement. This will give you the edge when it comes time to negotiate and it will show your agent that you are committed to him/her and therefore, they will be committed to you.
Try to find a home that you can live with for some time to come. We do not know for sure where the market is going, however, it will most likely be some time before the prices of homes are on the rise. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have room to grow and wait it out once you have made the purchase.
Try to keep it light and fun.
First time buyers need to acknowledge that in bank-owned, foreclosures or pre-foreclosures do not look like model homesand need repairs but come with a big tag of savings and big chances of profit in the future.
And that mortgage payments are almost like paying rent, so why not?
Finding a good agent, a good mortgage broker, getting all home inspections and providing all information for loan approval in a timely fashion. Look at homes online and look at a few homes with a couple of agents. Buyers should not settle for an agent who makes them feel uncomfortable, or one that they feel is not responsive to their needs. Once they find an agent they like, ask for recommendations for a lender who enjoys working with first tme buyers and guiding them through the process. Once they have their "team" in place, the rest should be a piece of cake!
(1). Do you homework, get approved by a lender of your choice
(2) Select a Real Estate professional in your area
Learn from our recent economy and start out simple and grow from there. Too many times people buy above their income levels thinking everything is good for now and then the bottom hits and you are forced into a terrible financial situation. Most times it's the home that goes first, be smart.
Stirling/Sotheby's International Realty
These are things we did not have to consider as realtors, buyers and sellers in the past but is so much an important part of our realtor due diligence way of life NOW and as YOUR realtor I'm going to ensure you are protected.
So ask me again what is THE most important detail for a first time homebuyer in today's market - make sure the home is saleable and use a realtor who can guide you appropriately to ensure the correct answer.
Some great responses thus far. As a mortgage lender specializing in First Time Home Buyers, there is certainly a lot of great advice we can offer based on our experiences in the market.
First and foremost, GET A PRE-APPROVAL from a local lender. I stress the "local" aspect because the majority of problems buyers seem to be having is with ineffective communication between their lender or mortgage broker and their Realtor. This communication is pertinent to a successful and stress-free process, especially with first time buyers.
Secondly, please do not waste your valuable time or your Realtor's valuable time by doing nothing but submitting low-ball offers. This is not that type of market anymore. Most of the purchases we have come across actually end up paying more for the home than it was initially listed for. If you only qualify for a $200k home, please do not look at $240k homes in hopes that you will negotiate them down to your range. By looking in the wrong places, you WILL miss out on a deal you can actually get!
Lastly, choose your agents (real estate and mortgage) and then RELAX please. Go through your research in the beginning when you are selecting your Realtor and/or Mortgage Professional. Once you make an informed decision and choose your representation carefully, let them do their jobs. They are there to stress FOR YOU, not to have you incur additional stress. Have faith in your professionals and ENJOY the home buying process to the fullest extent.
*Just a side note, our bank offers a no bank closing cost loan program for Police, Fire, Medical, Municipal, Military and Educational workers. This could save a first time home buyer with limited funds thousands of dollars! Always be on the lookout for great deals and specials, you never know what's out there unless you look.
Then ......as an agent, of course, I will suggest they find one heck of a great agent to represent them !! - along with a team of other great people (mortgage broker, attorney - if they are used in their area - home inspectors, etc).
Of course, they can also ask a lot of quesrions on trulia, too!
Have a great day.........