WalletHub™ recently compared 300 cities of varying sizes across key indicators, like cost of living and property taxes, to determine the best place to buy your first home. Our own Grand Rapids, Michigan came in at number four, and…drumroll please…Tampa, Florida came in at number one! To help you take advantage of where you live, here are five things every first-time homebuyer should know.
1. Know what your home really costs. Although house-hunting sites, like Zillow®, provide mortgage estimates based on the price of each home, they typically don’t account for costs like property taxes, insurance, potential homeowner’s association fees, utilities, repairs, or maintenance. For a better understanding of what might fit your budget, visit LMCU.org/FinancialCalculators and use our free home mortgage calculator.
2. Find the right real estate agent. It’s important to work with someone who knows your needs. You’ll want to make sure you get an agent who looks out for your best interests and can work with your schedule. Making sure they’re an agent who knows the area is critical.
3. Choose the right mortgage. This isn’t all on you, especially if you have an expert Loan Officer, but it’s good to know the basics. If you’re planning to live in your home for a long time, a fixed rate that’s predictable is usually the way to go. If you’re not planning on staying in the home long term, an adjustable rate could save you money each month, because interest rates start low and may increase over time.
4. Consider more than just the house. When you buy a house, you’re also buying stock in the street, neighborhood, city, and schools. Use Google Maps to check for hidden headaches like railroad tracks or nearby highways. Visit the house during rush hour to find out what traffic is really like.
5. When opportunity knocks, have your money ready. Buying a home in a great location means you’ll have lots of competition. Make sure the funds for a down payment are readily available in one, easy-to-access account. Pulling money from various places could slow things down and cause you to miss out. The best way to make a strong offer is to get pre-approved by your LMCU loan officer.
As Michigan’s number one purchase lender,** our friendly experts know the home financing process like the back of their lower peninsula hand. And in Florida, our low rates and down payments are quickly getting noticed. Visit LMCU.org/FindALoanOfficer to find a Loan Officer today.
*WalletHub.com, July 2019. **MarketTrac, Feb. 2019.
Topics: Home Financing & Renovation