How to Prepare to Buy Your First Home This Year

Judie Docs, Executive Officer
CSP, CMP, CGP, MCSP, MIRM
North Coast Building Industry Association

As interest rates begin to tick slowly, you may be considering saving money to buy a
home this year. Home buying is one of the biggest purchases a person will make.
Preparing to buy a home doesn’t just involve deciding on a location or scrolling through
images of homes online. You’ll need to dive deep into your finances and prioritize your
home feature preferences to help your home buying process be manageable. Here are
a few steps to help you get started.
Determine Your Budget for a Home
Figuring out what you can afford to spend on a monthly mortgage payment may seem
like an obvious place to start, but it is an important one. Experts say that your total
monthly home expenses should be at most one-third of your gross monthly income.
Mortgages are different from making a monthly rental payment. When you’re a
homeowner, your mortgage payment is only part of your monthly expenses. You must
take property taxes, home insurance and interest into account.
Check Your Credit Score
If you’re not an all-cash buyer, you’ll likely need to finance the purchase of your home.
Checking your credit score is another important first step. Your credit score will help you
determine the financing options available. Lenders use credit scores to determine if a
borrower has a record of on-time payments and to gauge the likelihood of repaying the
mortgage. Your credit score will also impact your mortgage terms. The higher the score,
the more financing options and lower interest rates will be available.
Create Your “Must-Haves” Checklist
As a first-time home buyer, you must list your “must-haves” for your new home. Do you
need flexible space for a play area or a minimum number of bathrooms? It would be
best to have a general idea of the size, location, and amenities you want in your home.
Determine what features you will compromise on to ensure your home fits your budget.
Shop Around for a Mortgage
Lenders will have different mortgage rates, so doing your homework is important. Shop
around to find the lowest rate or work with a mortgage lender to help you find all the
loan options available. Several types of mortgages are available, including Federal
Housing Administration (FHA), conventional, adjustable rate and fixed rate. You’ll need
to learn more about them to determine which option works best.

Buying a home is a considerable investment in time and money. To help you find a new
home or for more home buying advice, contact the NCBIA. Visit our 24/7 Virtual Parade
of Homes!!! Allows you to look at some of our builders’ new homes and communities on
your mobile device or computer at your leisure (including our remodelers) We know time
is our greatest asset and via our NCBIA Virtual Parade of Homes, we save you time
looking for a new home or a community that fits your lifestyle. The Virtual Parade of
Homes is open online 24/7.  Many of the homes featured in our Virtual Parade host
regular open house hours for those consumers who are looking to tour the actual
homes. You can click through to builder websites to see what they have to offer
We are your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies
involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services
available to help you in the future as well as more information on the above topic. So,
you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure
that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA
members, you can visit our website at www.ncbia.com – go to Members and then
Member Search, or call 440-934-1090. We also have a job posting board (under the
industry tab).
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Homeownership is truly a cornerstone of the American way of life. North Coast
Building Industry – Come Build with Us!