Profile picture for lmino4

First time homebuyer- need help from start to finish

Hi- My name is Laura, and my husband and I are looking to buy our first place! We are going to go the FHA route for many reasons- I have been doing a bit of research on home buying and what to expect, but every time I research I get more confused! I am a stay at home mom and my husband works- we are currently living at my moms to save- My husband will be the one applying for the loan since my credit is less than desirable and I am going through a few credit problems. My husband's credit is fair- Id say he ranges between 620-660- Maybe more- Anyways, we are looking to make a purchase of no more than about $110000- we want to make sure we will be able to afford our monthly payments without having any issues- I guess my question, or advice is where do we start? Do we get a real estate agent first or do we try to apply for a loan? Help! :) By the way, we are looking to purchase in Broward county, Fl.  Thanks in advance!
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January 09 2013 - Davie
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Answers (9)

Since you are a first time buyer, I would suggest you find a buyer agent first, because they have contacts with lenders that could be able to help you.  Once the lender is identified and you are pre-approved then you start the process.  the best of luck!
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January 09 2013
You really can do either, but I would recommend you interview several agents or several lenders to make sure you are finding the right match.  A good agent will know a good lender and vice versa.  Read reviews about the agent/lender and meet them in person.  A good agent can guide you from start to finish so it probably makes the most sense to start with them.  
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January 09 2013
I suggest you get an Exclusive Buyer's Agent in your area they will be able to help you find a good lender.
  
Florida is a goofy state when it comes to real estate laws. An Exclusive Buyers Agent will be in your corner 100% of the time and have a Fiduciary (Legal) obligation to protect you.  They will be able to help you navigate the pit falls of buying a home.  

Instead of the FHA loan, I would consider the 2% Down Conventional with NO Mortgage Insurance for several reasons.  Although I can't tell you here where to go, I do know where it is.

Good Luck!
Ron Jensrud
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January 09 2013

Talk to friend, family and co-workers to find a good agent to work with, them meet the agent and see if you are comfortable with them. A buyer's agent is paid by the seller, so he/she should not charge you extra to work with them (some companies do, my philosophy is to find ones that don't). After you find a good agent, they should have several good lenders they can refer you to. You need to work with a lender that can close the loan on time, and again, one that is not charging high fees.
You do want to meet with a lender before looking at homes so 1) you know how much home that you can afford 2) the seller is going to want to see that you are qualified before accepting your offer. Good luck.

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January 09 2013
Profile picture for Dunes ..
The First thing you do IS NOT run out and just use any ol Lender/Agent....

Why? Because this is a very Large Business Transaction and the Selection of an Lender/Agent is an Important one for a lot of different reasons..
Select wisely and take the time to be sure you find the Best Lender and/or RE Agent if you choose to use one for you...

Become informed..be smart with your money...if there is a good Deal be able to recognize it, if there is a Bad Deal be able to recognize it
Know your Market does not just mean know what sold for what right now or in the past...It means KNOW your Market, know as much as you can about everything in your Market

How are the Schools doing? Budget Outlook/Enrollment up/down? Shortfalls, cutting back?..
How about the City Budget Outlook/Services to Roads ect..
How's the County Budget outlook?
Jobs?
Foreclosure Outlook/Impact?

I would suggest you give this Fed. Gov. Site a look, it has all the Current Fed Housing Loans (FHA/Vet/USDA ect.) and you search for specific information, compare options, or take a short questionnaire to determine your eligibility for each program.....Fed Loans..Housing

I would suggest you read the 9 Steps to Homebuying on the Hud site as they are an excellent guide & Resource plus links to your Local Homebuyer Programs....
(Step 3 is interview lenders..Step 5 is interview RE Agents)..
Buying a Home

Check out all this information from the Dept. of Justice Web Site...
Competing Models of Real Estate Brokerage

You could also make use of the Fed Gov and Banks Sites they have created to allow the Public to view their Properties for Sale/Foreclosure/REO..Get a feel for Prices and different Options

Sites like...HUD Homes...Fannie Mae
You can find the links to all the Gov sites here...Link

Bank sites like....Bank of America...Wells Fargo
You can find links to Bank sites here...Link

For finding Public Records, Property Records, Tax Sales posted ect. you may find this Public Records Search Engine helpful...Check it out
Free Public Records Search Directory

It's YOUR Money/Commitment and YOUR Financial Transaction
YOU have important decisions to make....YOU must protect yourself

Good Luck
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January 09 2013
Profile picture for wetdawgs
I would suggest spending time with reading and studying before meeting with any professionals.

Here's a link to Zillow's buyer's roadmap to get you started.  The HUD website also has a lot of valuable information.

When you are ready to contact professionals, be discriminating.   Like all professionals there are some great ones, some lousy ones and a lot in the average category.  Take the time and effort to identify the great ones, it will help your process considerably.
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January 09 2013
Hi Laura,

The research you need to do is about which Realtor you want to work with and which lender you want to work with. My advice is to meet with your Realtor first (once you've decided on who to work with) and let him guide you in the process. I also agree with Karl about not trying to view any homes prior to meeting with your lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting your hopes set on a home and then finding out that you can't get approved for the price is really tough. But you ought to meet with your Realtor first and more than likely he already works with a lender who he trusts and knows can help you. Best of luck!
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January 09 2013

Hi, Laura. Regardless of where you want to buy, you should go through the pre-approval process first. There are several reasons for that. First, to make sure you really can get approved for a mortgage and for how much. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a house and then finding out that you can't get a mortgage for it! It will help you and whatever Realtor you hire as your buyer's agent know the maximum that you can afford and the maximum that you want to spend (they're not always the same). If you do not have a lender in mind, you might want to hire your Realtor first. Realtors often have lenders they know are very good and have a record of settling on time (another important quality). If you do have a lender, make sure you also ask what the APR is since that not includes the rate you will get, but it also takes into account what their fees are.
This is an exciting time for you. I wish you the best of luck!

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January 09 2013
Congrats!

I would suggest meeting with a lender first, so that when you go about meeting with the Realtor you are informed and know what you can and can't afford.  Keep the horses ahead of the cart so to speak.  Other wise you may end up falling in love with some homes, only to find that they aren't in the price point that you are able to afford.

Then once you have a good understanding of what you are going to be able to afford, and what you are going to put down on the home, meet and tell the Realtor that, as well as what you are looking for in a home.  It will give him or her a better understanding and save you both time and energy.

Congrats again and GOOD LUCK!!!
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January 09 2013
 
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