4 Must-Dos for first time homebuyers
Buying a home can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time. Taxes, mortgages and property prices can make the process feel inaccessible and leave many feeling discouraged. Habitat for Humanity understands the feeling all too well, which is where the Homeownership Fair was born. The free event covers the end-to-end journey for first time buyers and this article will dive into the most talked about 4 key areas.
First Time Homeowners Unite for this Free Digital Event
The highly attended Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Fair is an annual, digital event that provides education, resources and encouragement to those who are looking to achieve homeownership. It’s attended by industry experts who we’ve partnered with to provide valuable information for those looking to buy their first home. Here are the 4 ‘must dos’ for every first time buyer.
Compare loan options
It’s no surprise that shopping for loan options can feel complicated. There’s often different factors to consider such as time limits, terms and rates, therefore finding the best and cheapest one can take some time.
However, it’s time well spent. A loan is one of the longest commitments one will make in a lifetime and although switching is always an option, it’s best to do the research up front which can help save money for the future.
Some important considerations when comparing loan options:
- APR (Annual percentage rate)
- Total Amount Owed
- Monthly Payments
Brokers can be an option for some who are looking for a loan, however, there are a lot of easy, free online tools that can help compare loan options if it’s something you’d rather explore independently.
Understand Down Payment Assistance Programs
Pulling together enough money for a downpayment is one of the most daunting pieces to homeownership. However, many people don’t realize that there are approximately 2,500 down payment assistance programs around the country for those who are eligible to help gain homeownership.
The range of down payment assistance programs are broad and vary between local programs, state agencies, neighborhoods and access can vary by location. Here are a few types of Down Payment Assistance Programs:
- Forgivable Loans
- Deferred-Payment Loans
- Low Interest Loans
Do your research before panicking over a 20% deposit, there may be a program that you’re eligible for and don’t realize.
Learn from others
The stories of First Time Buyer mistakes can sometimes feel endless. In reality, if you understand your risk factors and responsibilities before buying, you can avoid some of the most common pitfalls. Here are some examples:
- Purchasing a home they can’t afford
- Looking for a home before a mortgage
- Talking to one lender
- Emptying their savings account to buy their first home
- Overlooking the hidden costs of homeownership
- Waiting for the perfect house, or getting fixated on a perfect house
Beyond speaking with friends or family for advice, seek advice from a real estate professional or financial advisor. Industry experts will help clue you into market trends to help you feel empowered and more prepared before buying.
Don’t be scared
Purchasing a home can feel scary, but if you have the right resources in place and you’ve put in the work to educate yourself, it’s a decision that can provide a stronger financial future. Homes are an asset that only increases in value over time, therefore by buying instead of renting, you’re acquiring wealth for your future.
Organizations like Habitat for Humanity provide a wealth of educational materials that can help those who are looking for a home achieve homeownership. Sometimes, all it takes is reaching out for help! Learn more about homeownership by watching some sessions from the 2022 Homeownership Fair.
Volunteering is an easy way to get to know those within your community, and can help form meaningful bonds to rally around an important cause. There are several ways you can volunteer in your community:
- Plan activities at the local senior center
- Research initiatives at your local hospital
- Fundraise for meaningful community causes
- Spend time at animal shelters
- Join a neighborhood clean up
- Volunteer at the library
- Engage a local soup kitchen
- Or research a nonprofit that is close to you in your area
Building communities with Habitat
Our mission at Habitat for Humanity is to create safe, meaningful neighborhoods through homebuyer programs, building, education and advocacy. We’ve been able to help millions of families since our origin and are always looking for volunteers or donations to support neighborhood growth across the world. If you’re looking to improve your neighborhood, reach out to your nearest Habitat for Humanity to learn more about donation and volunteering opportunities.