Home is where the Heart is.

Buying your first home can be a daunting and intimidating process but, with the right guidence it doesn't need to be that way.

There are several steps you can take now to help you get the home you want. Getting your credit score up, paying off debt and saving are crucial to your succes. Below is a check list of tips and helpful hints to start the process of buying your first home.

  • Your credit score is very important, you can get a free copy from the three credit beureaus once a year (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Determine what you can afford, lenders wook at your debt to income ration so paying down your debt is an important factor.
  • The standard down payment is 20% but, if you are unable to save that much there are several first time home buyer assistance programs you may qualify for. GUD.gov gives you a list of available programs by state.
  • Collect your finanial paper work, this includes:
    • W-2 forms — or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed — for the last two to three years
    • Personal tax returns for the past two to three years
    • Your most recent pay stubs
    • Credit card and all loan statements
    • Your bank statements
    • Addresses for the past five to seven years
    • Brokerage account statements for the most recent two to four months
    • Most recent retirement account statements, such as 401(k)
  • Find your lender, credit unions and mortgage brokers are good options that may have lower rates than traditional banks.
  • Choose your real estate agent and make sure that they are very well versed in all the complexities of first time home buying.
  • Start the house hunting!
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