First Time Home Buyer...Starting the home buying process

By: Abbi Bellard, Bank of England Mortgage, Lafayette, Louisiana

Starting the home buying process can be intimidating, especially if it is your first time purchasing a home. Some questions you may be asking yourself, where do I start? How much money should I save for a down payment? What price range can I afford? Do I qualify for a loan? This short article will address some of the most common questions and topics I hear from first time home buyers. Being a first time home buyer (FTHB for short) is overwhelming, so continue reading and you’ll be sure to feel confident and knowledgeable when talking to your real estate professionals during the process.

1. First Time Home Buyer “Perks” 
Are there any special loan programs or “first time home buyer perks” that are available, you might ask. The answer is, yes! One of the “perks” of being a FTHB is the 3% down payment requirement. There are other requirements to this program but this is an option if you have not previously owned a home. Many FTHBs think a 20% down payment is required to purchase a home and that is false! There are loan programs that require ZERO money down.

2. Down Payment Assistance Options
But what if I qualify in every other aspect but don’t have the down payment requirement? No worries! There are down payment assistance options as well. These are perfectly acceptable means of funds and have helped many clients achieve their dream of homeownership. If you are searching for a home in Lafayette Parish, specifically, there is down payment assistance. However, if you are searching in other parishes in Louisiana there are quite a few different options for down payment assistance as well. If you’re reading this and are not looking to purchase a home in Louisiana, there may be a down payment assistance program near you, talk to your local lender!

3. Analyzing Credit Scores
One of the most important factors when determining if you qualify to purchase a home, your credit score. A loan officer gets your basic information to pull your credit score, by all three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. We take the middle of the three scores and that is the number used to qualify you for your loan. For example, if your credit scores are 620, 618, 637, your qualifying credit score would be 620. If you are worried about your credit score, some lenders, like myself, may have access to programs that analyze your scores and find ways to improve them.

Hopefully, this article has answered some of your questions about the home buying process and has given you a better idea of what to expect. Knowing where to start is the toughest part of the home buying journey, especially if it is your first time. Don’t forget about your real estate professionals; we are all here to help you every step of the way and can answer any questions you may have during the process. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to start your home buying process.

Abbi Bellard
Loan Officer
Direct: 337-349-6461

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