Think it’s about time you became a first-time homebuyer?

Here are a few things to look into while searching for your




1. Check the selling prices of comparable homes in your area

Do a quick search of actual multiple listing service, or MLS, listings in your area.


2. Find out what your total monthly housing cost would be

Include taxes and home insurance in your cost. In some areas, what you’ll pay for your taxes and insurance escrow can almost double your mortgage payment.


3. Find out how much you’ll likely pay in closing costs

The upfront cost of settling on your home shouldn’t be overlooked. Closing costs include origination fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items like homeowners insurance or homeowners association fees.


4. Look at your budget and determine how a house fits into it

Fannie Mae recommends that buyers spend no more than 28 percent of their income on housing.


5. Talk to one our RE/MAX Realtors about the real estate climate

Do they believe prices will continue falling or do they think your area has hit bottom or will rise soon?


6. Examine your credit


7. Get your docs in a row

Collect pay stubs, bank account statements, W-2s, tax returns for the past two years, statements from current loans and credit lines, and names and addresses of your landlords for the past two years. Have all of that paperwork ready for the lender. It may seem like a lot, but don’t be surprised if your lender wants a lot of documentation.


8. Find lenders and get preapproved

Getting preapproved for a mortgage helps you bargain from a position of strength when you are house hunting.


9. If at first you don’t succeed, try… the government?

If you can’t find a bank willing to lend to you, consider getting an FHA loan. The Federal Housing Administration has a program that insures the mortgages of many first-time homebuyers. As a result of this guarantee, lenders who might otherwise feel queasy about your qualifications will be more inclined to lend to you. As a bonus, the FHA requires a down payment of only 3.5 percent from first-time homebuyers.


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