Profile picture for saraparks161

How do I start working to buy a home?

I am a first time home buyer and have no idea what I am doing.
  • November 20 2013 - State College
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Answers (11)

One of the first steps in the home buying process is to speak with a lender to get a home loan. When you do apply for a loan, lenders like myself will need to look at several different things if you are trying to prequalify for a loan.

1) Proof of income for each person that will be on the mortgage which can be demonstrated through: one month of pay stubs, previous year's W-2 forms and tax returns, official documentation to demonstrate other forms of income (alimony, child support, etc.), and two year's tax returns if self-employed (all schedules, all pages)

2) Credit Report which they will pull

3) Employment History or Business Tax Returns if you're Self Employed

4) Personal assets such as: Recent balances and statements for bank accounts, most recent account statement demonstrating market value of any investments (stocks, bonds or certificates of deposit), documentation showing interest in retirement funds, face amount and cash value of life insurance policies, value of significant pieces of personal property, debt information, the balances and account numbers of your current loans and debts, including car loans, credit card balances and any other loans you may have.

These are just a few things you should have ready when you begin your buying process. Well I hope this helps, if you have any other questions or need a loan please contact me through the information on my profile page. I hope this helps and good luck!
  • November 22 2013
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Hi Sara,

What a great set of answers and excellent advice you have received - aren't you glad that you asked this on Zillow?

I am not going to try to reinvent the wheel here when you already have such good information. I will add one new piece of advice though that I always share with buyers who are just starting the process. As soon as your lender gives you an idea of what your monthly payment is going to be (Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance and I would even say to add any HOA $, if applicable), start banking the difference between that payment and what you are currently paying RIGHT NOW! And, don't skip a single payment to yourself because you will not have that option after you purchase.

Not only will this approach let you try the payment on for size to discover whether or not it fits in with everything else you want to do in life, it is a great way to increase the size of your down payment.

Good luck.  
  • November 21 2013
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I would check to see if your city or town has any First Time Homebuyer Education courses available. They are classes that walk you through the whole homebuying process, from pre-qualification, local & national incentives for first time homebuyers, through what you need to know about down payments, credit score, home inspections, appraisals, etc.  

These type of classes are free and it will help educate you about all the steps of home buying.  
It looks like you are in PA - this website may help:
http://www.anytimeestimate.com/PA_HOME_BUYER/pa-home-buyer-first-time-programs.htm

Talking to a lender right away to understand the pre-approval process & helping you to figure out your budget & if you are ready to buy are also very important to know so that you have an idea of what you can afford before you start looking at homes.

Good luck!!!
  • November 21 2013
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Profile picture for rtlvr
In addition to the advice  you have been given about agents, loan qualifications, mortgage, I offer the following advice. Get a map and determine your "preferred area", based on criteria important to you, ie, schools, commuting time, crime stats, etc. Go to Open Houses in your preferred area, if available, and bring a notepad and a tape measure. Note what sizes rooms are by measuring them, so that you have some idea what your minimum standards are. Also note those things you like about the layout, design, style of the house, yard, etc. This will give you a lot of information to share with the real estate agent, and give the agent the necessary information to help you find your first house. A big part of working with an agent is communication. An agent has an inventory of houses that can be narrowed with your information. In many cases using the information the agent will be able to give you a frank assessment as to whether you will be able to get all that  you want with your budget or in your preferred neighborhood.
  • November 21 2013
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Congratulations!!! You just took your first step. In my opinion, too many people start something new without asking for help. This is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. I would recommend reading as much as possible and surrounding yourself with good professional people. Remember, this is YOUR decision, if you get that funny feeling in your gut something isn't right, trust it! There is always another deal.   

This article is new and has some really good information. Good Luck!!!

Buying your First Home
  • November 21 2013
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When people ask me about purchasing their first home, I always recommend the same thing:  Find a buyers agent that you trust and can work with.  Interview several, ask about recommendations and past clients. 
Buyers agents usually work for free, meaning you don't pay them to represent you, they get paid at close out of the sellers closing costs.  They represent you throughout the transaction and can put you in touch with the people you need (listed below in many answers: mortgage lenders, credit agencies, etc etc).

Good luck and congratulations on starting this exciting endeavor! 
  • November 21 2013
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I would start getting prequalified through a licensed mortgage professional.  They are up to date with the most recent mortgage guideline changes and updates.  And yes, there are always many changes!

Secondly, I respectfully disagree with working with a mortgage broker.  I always recommend a correspondent mortgage banker.  What's the difference? 

Brokers are a great source to fund your loan b/c they deal with a number of banks.  But at times, they may have to wait for the various banks they deal with to approve & fund the loans they originate through that bank.  This could potentially lead to inefficient turn times.

Correspondent Bankers have the same ability to fund loans through various banks, but they have delegated authority to approve and fund your loan with their own money.  This can create a more efficient process since they can make the decision, and then sell the loan after you close to the servicing bank.  

You can research anyone you deal with at nmls consumer access . org . 

Best of luck.  Any questions feel free to reach out to me through my profile.  
  • November 21 2013
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Hello Sara,

Start with a checking of  your credit score, higher your score is better interest rate you can get.  Find professional real estate agent who will help you with mortgage pre-approval, give you an information about different programs that are available for first the time home buyer and help you to find your dream home. I hope this will helps. 

Sincerely,
Zurab Kvantrishvili
Realtor at Weichert Realtors
  • November 20 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Before starting with professionals, why not do some reading about the process?

Here are a couple of links that will keep you out of trouble for a few hours:

Buyer's Roadmap.

Hud.gov  "Buy  a home" section

This is a huge financial decision and responsibility.  Take your time, study up, go the library and study some more.     It isn't a emergency, it is worth your time to do it right.
  • November 20 2013
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Hello Sara,

Start with a checking of  your credit score, higher your score is better interest rate you can get.  Find professional real estate agent who will help you with mortgage pre-approval, give you an information about different programs that are available for first the time home buyer and help you to find your dream home. I hope this will helps, and I will  be glad to assist you in the future. 

Sincerely,
Zurab Kvantrishvili
Realtor at Weichert Realtors
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  • November 20 2013
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Hi Sara,
I recommend starting with a Lender and I would start with a Mortgage Broker. I like Mortgage Brokers, cause they deal with many different banks, instead of just one. I would find out what kind of loan program you would fit into or what kind of preparation you will have to do to get a loan. Once you have a loan set up you can start looking at homes, but it all starts with the Loan.
I hope this helps.
Have a great day.
Thanks,
David Poulsen
  • November 20 2013
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