Buying a home is a big move! The process can feel intimidating and overwhelming, but you are never alone. Along the way, you will encounter professionals that can provide you with information, resources, and support to help you make the best decisions and right money moves.
In this article, we’ll talk about four experts that will save you time and headaches throughout your homebuying journey. Here’s who they are, what they do, and how they can help you.
Expert #1: Real Estate Agent
Our first expert will help you through every step of the process, from open houses to getting the keys to your new home: your real estate agent.
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How a Real Estate Agent Can Help You
Navigating the homebuying process with a real estate agent will make every step of the way easier.
An experienced agent is knowledgeable of the local market and has access to the multiple listing service, allowing them to present you with the properties in the area that are suited to meet your needs. Not only that, they can negotiate on your behalf and guide you through the legal components of the purchase.
Real estate agents also offer valuable advice during the entire homebuying process, ensuring you consider your needs, goals, and budget. They can help you identify red flags, saving you from making costly decisions that will cause headaches down the road. And, chances are, they are well-connected with trustworthy individuals, which means you will also have a network of home-related professionals that you can utilize.
With their help, you can feel confident that you are getting exactly what you need and making an informed decision about your purchase!
Expert #2: Mortgage Loan Originator
The next expert you’ll want to have by your side in the homebuying process is a trustworthy mortgage loan originator.
How a Mortgage Loan Originator Can Help You
Many people believe that your mortgage loan originator only comes into play once your offer has been accepted and you apply for financing. The truth, however, is that they should be one of the first professionals you get in contact with as soon as you decide you want to buy a home!
Choosing the right mortgage lender when looking to buy a home can make all the difference in having a successful transaction. Picking the right lender is important for several reasons:
- They can help you figure out your budget: This is the reason why it’s good to include your lender on your journey early on. Getting pre-qualified for a home mortgage is a great way to confirm your mortgage budget and signal to sellers that you’re a serious buyer.
- They’ll help you choose the right loan: A trustworthy lender wants to see you succeed financially. They will advise you on your loan options so that you choose the one best for your financial situation.
- You get the best rate and terms: Shopping around for the lender with the best rate and terms can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
- They have a network of local professionals and a knowledge of area trends: Local lenders will have their own network of professionals— like inspectors, appraisers, etc. that you can use.
- They’ll make the application process a breeze: Nervous about applying for a loan? A good lender will guide you through the process with ease and help ensure there are no surprises.
Finding yourself an experienced and reliable lender allows for an easier and stress-free homebuying journey.
Expert #3: State-Run Programs for Down Payments
When you purchase a home, you’ll have to make a down payment. This is a lump sum that is equal to a certain percentage of the final purchase price.
With home prices on the rise, saving up for a down payment presents a significant barrier for many potential buyers across the country. Luckily, state-run down payment assistance programs can provide the resources to overcome this hurdle.
How a Down Payment Program Can Help You
Down payment programs can help homebuyers come up with the funds to purchase a house through a grant, zero-interest loan, or low-interest loan.
Every program is subject to its own requirements, but most are based on income and are offered to low- to moderate-income individuals and families. Many programs are also location-based, so recipients must purchase a home in a designated state, county, or city.
Oftentimes, in exchange for the grant or loan, buyers must attend homebuyer education or training. The courses are designed to help homebuyers start off on the right foot, form good financial habits, and better understand their responsibilities as a homebuyer.
Finding Down Payment Assistance Programs in Texas
Finding the right down payment assistance program is easy today, thanks to the internet. In Texas, some popular programs include:
This is not an exhaustive list of resources available to homebuyers. Though many programs are offered on a state level, some are offered city- or county-wide. Research more options online or by talking to your local lender.
Expert #4: Yourself
Yep— you read that right. Our last expert is none other than yourself.
Not sure that you have the knowledge to be an expert? It’s never too late to learn the ins and outs of the homebuying process!
How You Can Help Yourself
So what can you do to help yourself prepare for a smooth home purchase? There are two ways: research and understanding your needs.
Today, you can find a wealth of information online. The more you research, the better you can expect your experience to be. Start by familiarizing yourself with each step of the process, common mortgage terms, what to be on the lookout for, and common mistakes that people make. Ask your friends and family about their experiences, what they wish they knew, and what they wish they had done differently.
Secondly, you can help prepare by fully understanding your own needs and goals. This may sound silly, but you’re the expert when it comes to your own needs— no one can guess these things for you. It’s important to sit down and think about them before you start house hunting. Things to consider include:
- When do you think you’ll be ready to buy a home?
- How long do you plan on staying in the home?
- Do you anticipate any big life changes (retirement, growing family, kids starting school, etc.) after moving?
- What do you like and dislike about your current home?
- Even if you can afford a specific monthly payment, what would you gain by choosing a smaller home for less money?
By thinking about these things ahead of time, you can save yourself from making snap decisions based on emotion. Instead, you’ll be able to logically think through what house makes the most sense for your life.
Get the Right People for the Journey
These four resources— real estate agents, MLOs, down payment programs, and yourself— are key to a smooth and successful homebuying process. Always take the time to research the professionals that you bring on board. Look up reviews, ask your friends and family, and don’t be afraid to compare your options when choosing the experts that will guide you on your journey. With the right people, you may be pleasantly surprised as to how easy buying a home actually is!