Helpful Tips For First-Time Homebuyers 

Are you ready to buy your very first house? This blog post was created specifically for first-time Kansas City homebuyers! Buying your first house can be both exciting and overwhelming, so we are here to share some tips that will help guide you through the process! These tips will allow you to feel at ease and help you mark-off all the boxes that need to be checked when purchasing a house for the first time.  

First time visiting our blog? Welcome to Hearthside Homes! We are a home builder based in Liberty, Missouri. Since 1987, we’ve built over 1,500 charming and long-lasting homes for residents in Kansas City and surrounding areas. We currently build in Liberty,  Kansas City, Parkville, and Kearney areas. Click here to check out our current listings! We hope you enjoy learning about what first-time Kansas City homebuyers need to know! 

Start Saving Early 

It’s never too early to start saving! There are more expenses than just your mortgage that you will want to keep in mind when saving your money for the big buy. Down payments, closing costs, and move-in expenses are important to plan for. The down payment for your home will depend on the mortgage you choose and the lender. Loans for first-time buyers with outstanding credit allow as little as 3% down, but that is still a  pretty penny.

In addition to the down payment, there are closing costs. These fees are used to finalize the mortgage, and they typically range from 3% to 5% of the loan amount. Once you move-in, you will want to have some cash saved to furnish your new home to make it perfect for your lifestyle. If you plan and start saving early, you will be able to afford your dream house in no time! 

Strengthen Your Credit  

Your credit score is important for your financial health. Your credit score will tell lenders how responsibly you use credit and can turn away lenders if it is too low. To strengthen your credit, remember to keep up on your bills and pay down your credit card balances. When evaluating your application for a mortgage, lenders look at more than just your credit score. They also look at your credit report to determine what interest rate you’ll receive on a mortgage. If you have errors on your credit report, you could end up paying a higher interest rate than you deserve. Be sure you are checking up on your credit report and resolving any mistakes. 

Decide What You Can Afford 

Before you begin looking and falling in love with stunning houses, you need to figure out the right price point for you. If you don’t have a budget in place, you could end up looking at houses that are out of your price range and aren’t realistic for your needs. Carefully review your finances and set a budget so you can get a feel for how much house you can afford. Remember that there are several costs to consider, such as: mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, property taxes, utility bills, homeowners association fees, and maintenance costs. Failing to budget for these expenses could leave you struggling to make ends meet. It’s good to have a plan! 

Decide Where You Want To Live 

A great location can be just as important as the actual house you are purchasing. When purchasing a house, factor neighborhood quality, and location into your decision. From researching crime rates and checking out school districts, you will want to determine what is the best location for you and your family. Don’t forget to test out the commute to work during rush hour or locate your favorite grocery store! You will want to decide what you want to be near and what you don’t mind being a longer distance from. 

Get A Preapproval Letter 

A common mistake first-time homebuyers tend to make is not getting prequalified for a  mortgage. A preapproval letter is a letter from a lender that shows you are approved for a mortgage loan for a certain amount of money. It pinpoints a price range, narrows down the neighborhoods you should be looking at, makes you look good to sellers, and speeds up the buying process. A preapproval letter can save time, allowing you to make sure you are looking at a house that you will be able to finance and showing the seller that you can afford the house you are looking at. 

Compare Mortgage Rates 

Some homebuyers only look at a one rate quote when shopping for a mortgage, and that’s an expensive mistake. If you don’t shop around, you could end up with a much higher interest rate, costing you thousands of dollars more over the length of your mortgage. Avoid this by looking at several mortgage rates from different lenders to ensure you get the lowest rate!

Common loans include conventional loans, FHA loans,  USDA loans, and VA loans. You should also consider the loan term, which is the time frame in which you are required to pay off the loan and the loan’s interest. Most mortgages have 15-year terms or 30-year terms, but you can find other terms that may fit your needs better. 

Pay For A Home Inspection 

You will want to invest in a thorough home inspection to assess the structure and mechanical systems of the house to help you make an informed decision about buying the property. This includes the roof, ceilings, walls, floors, windows, and doors.  Standard inspections don’t test for things like radon, mold, and pests, so make sure you know what is included in the inspection. Typically, you would attend the inspection, but if you cannot, be sure to view the inspector’s report and ask questions if there is anything that may be unclear. You will want to be confident that your future home is in tip-top shape! 

Purchase Home Insurance 

Your lender will require you to buy homeowners insurance before closing the deal.  Home insurance covers any repair or replacement costs of your home belongings if they are damaged by an incident that is covered in the insurance policy, and will also provide liability insurance. You will want this protection, and you will want to make sure your dwelling coverage equals the replacement cost of your house. If anything were to happen, you can feel confident that your insurance will have you covered. 

Build With Hearthside Homes! 

We hope you enjoyed learning more about what first-time Kansas City homebuyers need to know! If you live near Kansas City and the surrounding areas, and you’re looking for a new home, we would love to work with you! When you work with Hearthside Homes, you’ll rest easy knowing that the home will be beautiful and long-lasting. We have over 30 years of experience in the memory-making department, and we can build you a home that you will love in as little as six short months. 

Hearthside Homes is a semi-custom home builder, meaning our clients choose from one of our expertly designed floor plans. Click here to check out our 2-story, 1.5- story, ranch, reverse, and split style homes! From there, our customers can customize their home by choosing unique material selections from our Design Center that match their style preferences to aid them in building their dream home. Our Design Center is located at 1915 Industrial Dr #300, Liberty, MO 64068. Click here to learn more about our process. 

To request more information from one of our experts, fill out this form on our website, or give us a call at (816) 781-0234. Don’t forget to follow all the behind the scenes fun on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest!

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