Advice for New Home Buyers

Find out how to save money for a down payment, apply for a mortgage, look for a home, and more.

Here are the primary expenses to take into account when you save for a home:

  • Down payment: The amount of money you must put down will vary depending on the lender and the type of mortgage you pick. Some conventional loans intended for first-time homebuyers with good credit only require a 3% down payment.
  • Closing costs: These are the charges and prices you incur to complete your mortgage; they typically represent 2% to 5% of the loan amount. Your closing expenses might range from $5,820 to $14,550 if you put 3% down on that $300,000 house. You would have to pay extra money on top of your down payment to do that.
  • After buying a property, you’ll need money for moving charges. Set aside some cash for urgent house improvements, repairs, and furnishings.

Determine the cost of your home.

Before you start looking, determine how much you can afford to spend on a house. The house affordability calculator from NerdWallet can assist you in determining a price range based on your income, debt, down payment, credit score, and the location of your intended residence.

Examine and improve your credit.

If you are eligible for a mortgage, your credit score will help lenders decide what interest rate to give you. In general, a higher score will result in a cheaper interest rate.

The costs and rates of mortgages

To compare costs, including interest rates and potential origination fees, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises receiving loan estimates for the same type of mortgage from many lenders.

Discount points, which the borrower pays up advance to reduce the interest rate, may be available from lenders. If you have the cash on hand and intend to live in the house for a long time, buying points may make sense. To make your choice, use a discount point calculator.

Get a letter of preapproval.

An offer from a lender to lend you money up front and on particular terms is known as a mortgage preapproval. A preapproval letter can provide you an advantage over other home shoppers who haven’t taken this step yet by demonstrating to home sellers and real estate agents that you’re a serious buyer.

When you’re ready to begin looking for a home, submit an application for preapproval. To confirm your income, assets, and debt, a lender will check your credit and look over your paperwork.


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