First time home owner, where do I even start?

Asked by Kendra Mickley, Kalispell, MT Tue Sep 18, 2012

My boyfriend and I want to get married, we have a three year old daughter and we are sick of wasting money on apartments that are less than great. We need to figure out our credit situation, but after that what should we be doing? Talking to a realtor? Talking to the bank? I have no idea how to go about this. Thanks for helping :)

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Linda Pistorese’s answer
Linda Pistor…, Agent, Kalispell, MT
Wed Oct 23, 2013
Hi Kendra! We have great resources in Kalispell for first time homebuyers. FVCC offers this HUD Approved First Time Home Buyer Education Course
(Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana)
Here is the info: Instructor: Claudine Johnson
A great program for new and experienced home buyers.
This is the right place to get facts, gain knowledge, and
become empowered to take charge of the home buying
process. Find out the advantages and disadvantages of
homeownership. Discuss credit, types of loans, budgeting
and the steps to apply for a mortgage. Learn about ID
theft and how to protect you and your family. Find out
about basic lending programs that may best fit you, and
how to interview the professional you’re hiring to navigate
you safely through this process. Presented in partnership
with NeighborWorks® Montana, U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development, and Montana Board
of Housing. This class is required for Mutual Self-Help
Housing, USDA Rural Development, Glacier Affordable
Housing Foundation, Northwest Montana Community
Land Trust, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, and Whitefish
Housing Authority. The fee listed is per household. Note:
Saturday classes are one day only; the November class
meets two Monday evenings - location to be announced.
A) Saturday Sep 24 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $30
B) Saturday Oct 22 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $30
C) Mondays Nov 7 & Nov 14 5-9 p.m. $30
FIN 1011A, B, C AT Bldg Rm 202
0 votes
, ,
Wed Sep 19, 2012
Hi Kendra,

The first thing you want to do is speak with a mortgage banker about the no money down USDA mortgage since Kalispell is an area that's eligible for it.

One of the best things about this mortgage is the monthly mortgage insurance is substantially less than an FHA or conventional mortgage and that's with no money down.

Here's an example: An FHA mortgage of $155,000 is going to have a monthly mortgage insurance payment of $161.45 but on a USDA mortgage it's only going to add $51.66 to your monthly payment.

The other nice thing is you can actually roll your closing costs into the loan as long as the appraised value supports it.

Please feel free to contact me for more information or help. You can also find info on my USDA Mortgage website by clicking the link below.

John Burke
Senior Mortgage Banker
Peoples Bank & Trust
1 vote
Michael Cheng, Agent, San Jose, CA
Tue Sep 18, 2012
First, speak with a lender to see how much financing you can get approved for. Once you know your max budget, then you can speak with a Realtor to see if you can find what you want within your budget. If not, then you can still go back to saving up a larger downpayment.
Web Reference:
1 vote
Nicole Douce…, Agent, Wakefield, MA
Tue Sep 18, 2012
You need to sit with a good mortgage lender. They will look at your financials and get you pre-approved. If you have any credit issues they can let you know what to fix. They will also let you know what programs are available to you and help with down payment information and other costs you will need.
You can start asking for referrals to a good realtor in your area. Sit down with them let them know what your needs are and your wish list. They can put you on their website so you can search around a little see what you can get for the money. Maybe go some open houses. Then once you are pre-approved you truly ready to start looking. You can receive instant alerts when something comes on the market with your search criteria. You let the realtor know what you like. They will make appts. to go look at the homes. Which is a lot quicker and easier than waiting for open houses. Hope that helps.
1 vote
Beth Pankratz, Agent, Maryville, TN
Tue Sep 18, 2012
I would suggest talking to a mortgage specialist in your local area. There are many different loan programs available and the best way to find out which one meets your needs is to make an appointment with a loan officer that services your area. If you don't know who to go to, you can get in touch with a real estate agent for a referral. They are in the best position to know who does the best job and they will appreciate someone who is willing to find out their buying position before taking up their time. It is much more productive and efficient to know what price range you need to be looking at before you start. Good luck.
1 vote
Murphy Team, Agent, Portland, ME
Thu Sep 25, 2014
Find an experienced local Realtor and hire them as your Buyer Agent (typically no cost to you). She/he will be able to guide you through the process with ease. They should have a few good lenders for you to speak with and from whom you may secure a Pre-Approval letter. Wishing you success.
0 votes
, ,
Fri Sep 19, 2014
Hi Kendra,

The first thing you should do is talk to a lender (like me) about the No Money Down USDA Mortgage since Kalispell, MT is an eligible area.

One of the best things about the USDA program is the monthly mortgage insurance is substantially cheaper than FHA or conventional options.

For example: On an FHA loan of $150,000, the MMI (monthly mortgage insurance) would add $168.75 to your monthly payment but on a USDA mortgage it would only add $62.50!

The other nice thing is USDA will actually allow you to roll in your closing costs as long as the appraised value supports it.

Take a look at the recommendations from some of my past clients on my Trulia profile by clicking the link below my phone number.

Please feel free to contact me for more information or help.

John Burke
Senior Mortgage Banker
Lending in ALL 50 states
Great Plains National Bank
NMLS# 787231…
0 votes
Allison Fish…, Agent, Ann Arbor, MI
Tue Sep 18, 2012
Call Steve - get a preapproval and have him advise you on the right loan for you. Then do your research about a great Realtor to help you - someone that you like and that you trust. Get a referral from someone that brags about their real estate experience. Find out more here:

That is my guide to First Time Home Buying - good luck!!
0 votes
Steve Dooling, Agent, Bigfork, MT
Tue Sep 18, 2012
Hi Kendra - My name is Steve Dooling, and I'm a broker with Trails West Real Estate here in the Flathead Valley. The first thing you should do is call a mortgage broker, and find out how your home-buying credit looks like, and if it needs repair, then he/she can advise you on what steps to take to clean it up and specifically which items to clear up. The object is, is to get a pre-approval letter, that can be submitted along with any offers you make, increasing the validity and strength of your offer to purchase. Then, call a Realtor (my number is 406-253-9117) and we can get started looking for the perfect property.


Steve Dooling, Broker
Trails West Real Estate
0 votes
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