When you’re buying your first home, where do you go to find information, advice and tools to help guide you through the process? While there are plenty of resources for first time home buyers online, it can be difficult to sort through them all. We’re here to help cut through the online clutter with the top ten resources for first-time homebuyers.
Use the following advice and tools for first-time homebuyers to improve your odds of making the right decisions in your home buying journey.
- 1. Top seven reasons to buy vs. rent
Are you stuck in the rent vs. buy decision-making process? Start here to review the financial implications of homeownership as well as the less widely known advantages, such as creative freedom, predictability and social benefits. This is a great place to start if you’re looking for the best resources for first-time home buyers.
- 2. How to set up a budget
Setting up a personal budget is a necessary step toward owning your first home. If you’re not sure where to start, you just need to know that a budget is simply tracking income that comes in and money that goes out. Guild’s guide to budgeting outlines seven steps to start tracking and take control of your personal finances. If there’s any tool for first time home buyers that is integral to the buying process, setting up a budget has got to be at the top of the list.
- 3. FAQs about debt-to-income ratio
Why does your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) matter? Because along with your credit score and job stability, your DTI ratio is a key indicator of your financial health and how much house you can afford. Explore these eight frequently asked questions to find out how to calculate your debt-to-income ratio, what makes a good DTI and ways to improve it.
- 4. Choosing the best mortgage loan
Instead of searching for the “best” mortgage loan, keep in mind that the ideal mortgage is the loan program most suited to meet your interests and financial needs. This guide is a great first-time homebuyer resource and will explain eight basic types of loans as well as help you choose the one that’s right for you.
- 5. How to calculate your mortgage payment
Use the Guild Mortgage Payment Calculator to understand all costs in your monthly payment. This tool for first-time homebuyers shows the total amount of principal and interest (plus taxes and insurance) that you will be expected to pay on your loan each month. The principal portion is the amount that goes toward paying off the total amount borrowed. The interest is what the lender charges for the amount borrowed.
- 6. Determining affordability with a pre-qualification calculator
Mortgage pre-qualification is an important first step for anyone who is considering buying a home. You will need to gather some basic financial information, including your total monthly income before taxes plus your total monthly debt payments. After entering your income and debt totals, the Guild Mortgage Pre-qualification Calculator will look at several factors and indicate whether you meet minimum requirements for a home loan as well as tell you the maximum amount that you can afford.
- 7. Differences between an ARM and fixed-rate loans
Adjustable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgage loans have advantages and disadvantages depending on your budget, risk tolerance and housing needs. Learn which type of loan is right for you in this first-time homebuyer resource.
- 8. Down payment assistance programs
Down payment assistance (DPA) programs are available county-by-county to offer first-time homebuyers support with down payment and closing costs to purchase a home. They offer the benefit of increasing your buying power and are often provided in the form of a grant that does not have to be paid back. Read more about who qualifies for these beneficial programs.
- 9. How to improve your offer with earnest money
Are you looking at a home in a competitive market or in danger of losing your bid to another buyer? Including an earnest money deposit can help your offer stand above the rest. If you’ve never heard of an earnest money deposit (EMD), or aren’t sure how one works, here’s everything you need to know.
- 10. Be prepared for closing costs
Nobody likes to be caught off-guard, especially during a life-changing event like buying a new home. Read what to expect so that you leave plenty of room in your budget for these fees. We’ve even included a few ways you might be able to reduce these costs.
Now that you have reviewed these valuable resources for first-time homebuyers, let us help you navigate the process of buying a home and securing a loan. We offer advice on hundreds of loan products for a wide array of borrower situations. Connect with an experienced loan officer today.