As a first time home buyer, the process can be exciting or it can be a nightmare. If you know what you're doing ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of headaches and trouble. So here are a few things you should know before jumping in headfirst:
Know Your Credit Score
As you've heard time and time again, one of the most important things you should know before you buy your first house is your credit score. The best way to figure this out is to get a credit report. With the recent subprime mortgage crisis, credit scores are more important than ever. This means you should have a fairly good score if you expect to qualify for a decent interest rate.
Know the Grants and Other Programs Available
All first time home buyer you should learn about the many grants and programs that are available. First time home buyers can get special interest rates or perks that other buyers can't get. However, after buying your first house these incentives are gone. So if you just settle for the first thing that comes along, you will permanently miss out on these programs.
Some grants may even help you get assistance with your down payment. These grants and programs can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Just be sure to investigate all of the available programs fully before you make a decision.
Know the Market Value
Another thing to know as a first time home buyer is the different markets that you're thinking about buying into. If a certain area's property values are falling, you should probably steer clear. If the area isn't family friendly and you hope to have a family, you might want to check out a different area.
Ideally you should look for growing areas that are well kept and safe. These areas will make it much easier to resell your house and realize appreciation. The last thing you want to do is buy into an area that is dead or dying.
Know Your Budget
The first thing you should do before buying your first home is to establish your budget. Go into the process with a maximum total amount in mind. Know how much you can afford and don't budge above that number. You don't want to do become saddled with too much house and too much debt.
After you've done these things, feel free to get started. See? Becoming a first time home buyer doesn't have to be a grueling experience. It can be fun and exciting for you and your family as long as you know how to make it that way.