A few days shy of my 34th birthday, I became a first time homeowner! My journey began a little over two years ago when a close friend inspired me to begin thinking about home ownership. After a lot a blood, sweat, and tears I’m glad to have a place that my family calls home! If you’re in the market to purchase a home for the first time, here’s a few things you should know!
CLEAN UP YOUR CREDIT!
The first step in home ownership is making sure your finances are in order. Simply put, every detail of your financial history and profile will be combed through by lenders, so ensure that you are financially fit prior to applying for any type of approval. Remove derogatory items from your credit report, pay down debts, pay ON TIME, and save as much as possible. Though there are programs that will accept scores starting at 580, I highly suggest securing a 640 or above to get the best rates, access to additional programs, and the best bang for your buck overall. Once approved, it’s time to move on to the next step!
YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY SECURE A TRUSTWORTHY REALTOR
I cannot stress this enough. My realtor is the reason I was able to secure my home! Although she is a close friend, our relationship became strictly business as I became her client. Having a realtor in place afforded me knowledge on the best lenders, current programs to assist with down-payment and closing costs, and negotiations on my behalf up until we reached the closing table. I never felt alone during this process because my realtor was proactive through every step, ensuring that I was on top of the process. An added bonus was her continuous encouragement for me to “keep going” and see this journey through to the end. If you are in the Atlanta area, I HIGHLY recommend Shanterius Churn of Churn Real Estate. If you’re not, be sure to secure a trustworthy agent who can provide guidance.
SAVE, AND THEN SAVE SOME MORE
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always been an amazing steward of my finances. Pursuing home ownership definitely changed that! While I was fortunate enough to find a program that covered my down payment, closing costs were still needed to seal the deal. Having a stable savings and building it consistently was key to being able to get in the home I desired. I was suggest saving at least $10,000 if you are serious about buying in the near future!
SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS, BUT BE REALISTIC
When I started searching for homes, I initially wanted a property near the city of Atlanta that had been recently renovated. As I began looking I quickly realized I wouldn’t find EXACTLY what I was I looking for. I wrote down my non negotiables, my wish list features, and things I absolutely could not live with it. I used this as my guide to keep me in check when touring homes. I finally found a new construction home in the suburbs, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice!
GET THE INSPECTION
This seems like a no-brainer, but because an inspection isn’t always required, some homeowners skip this crucial step. A home inspection is your safe guard against future issues, and gives you the opportunity to ensure the home is up to standards prior to moving in. A few hundred dollars can save you thousands in the long run!
REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED THE PROCESS
With everything, you should have a reason why. My reason for wanting to become a home owner stemmed from breaking generational curses, and my desire to leave a legacy for my daughter. When the process got hard or seemed impossible, remembering my why pushed me to keep going until I reached the finish line!
Home ownership is a true blessing that comes with so much privilege. If you’re in the market, don’t be afraid to questions and seek out assistance. If I can do it, you can too!