Suggestions to Ease Entry Into the Housing Market

buying a home in estero

Entering the housing market for the first time can be overwhelming and costly. It is very likely the largest purchase one has made and the process can be confusing. The most recent market report by Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), released June 16 with May figures, shows pending sales up 12 percent, closed sales up 23 percent and inventory up 4 percent. An analysis of the Census report by Trulia determined that owner households formed at double the rate of renter households in the first quarter of 2017. All of the data points to the possibility of a turnaround in the homeownership rate this year, after a decade of gradual decline. As Southwest Florida is an often preferred location for young families and others looking to enter the housing market, below are some tips to ease some of the stress that can be caused by a first-time home purchase.

  • Analyze monthly earnings, current monthly bills, moving costs, closing costs, and any other expenses involved to determine a budget. Using a home affordability calculator can be a great tool to use in determining this.
  • Review your credit history as this is an important factor to be considered by a bank in approving a mortgage loan and it will play a primary role in the determination of what kind of interest rate will be offered.
  • Devising a plan and begin saving for a downpayment as early on as possible. It is common to put 20 percent of the home’s purchase price down, but an increasing number of lenders offer loans that require a much lower downpayment.
  • Research downpayment options, such as federal mortgage programs with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, Veteran Affairs loans and other first-time homebuyer programs.
  • Research mortgage options, as there are 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 20-year or 15-year fixed loans, adjustable rate mortgage options, and more.
  • Compare mortgage rates from at least three different lenders to see where you can save money.
  • Get a preapproval letter. This can give you an upper hand in approaching a seller.
  • Type of property you want to buy (single-family home, townhome, condominium) and square footage, lot size, amenities, maintenance details related to each option
  • Neighborhood (school district, home value, safety and crime statistics, traffic, distance to grocery stores and other place you will travel to regularly)
  • Home inspection limitations (some don’t include tests for things like radon and mold) and whether you will have to request additional testing, attend the inspection and ask a lot of questions
  • Homeowners insurance options (shop around and compare rates)
  • Negotiate and make a solid offer