Read Our Homebuying Quick-Guide
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, or back in the market for a home, the process can be filled with as many questions as there are square feet. You need answers and expertise, and you’ve come to the right place!
Follow these steps to streamline the process:
Step 1: Crunch the numbers. Start with FNBO’s mortgage calculator to determine how much home you can afford. You can “adjust the dials” based upon your down payment and estimated purchase price. Having a conversation with one of our experienced loan officers at the beginning of the process can help you establish a smooth path to homeownership. They’ll provide an overview of what you should expect in terms of loan types, documentation, timing, down payment and the costs associated with closing on a mortgage loan.
Step 2: Prioritize your future-home’s features. Decide what you truly want. Make an honest assessment about the features that are a “must-have” for you and your family, and those that could be optional or part of a home improvement project. Remember, everyone’s tastes are different and yours may evolve as you look at homes and their potential with you at the helm! This step will bring focus to your search efforts and inform your decision to pursue or pass on a listing.
Step 3: Map out a serious budget. As you begin narrowing in on location, styles of homes and all the amenities on your wish list, you’ll want to know with confidence how much you can comfortably spend on a mortgage payment each month after all of your other bills and personal expenses are accounted for. Your loan officer is a great resource for helping you strategize your financial goals!
Step 4: Check your credit score. Your score can affect your interest rate, which could mean a lower or higher monthly payment. Take a thorough look at your credit report as you may discover errors that can be reversed or entries that you can amend to improve your score.
Step 5: Get pre-qualified. Start the process now, or schedule time with one of our loan officers to pre-qualify for your home loan. With pre-qualification, you’re ready to start shopping for your future home, and you’ll have an edge in a competitive buyers’ market. This early step will provide insight into the different loan types, interest rates, closing costs and much more. It will also help you determine the range of home pricing suitable for your budget and give you a reliable approximation of your monthly mortgage payment.
Step 6: Develop a list of estimated home expenses. Along with your mortgage payment, additional expenses may include closing costs, moving, property taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance, utility bills, garbage collection, yearly maintenance and any homeowner’s association fees. You can access your County Treasury to research property taxes, and maintenance fees can be estimated based upon your home’s age and square footage.
Step 7: Consider utilizing a buyer's agent. If the home is being shown by a realtor, that person is working for and representing the interests of the seller. With a buyer’s agent, you’ll have someone on your side who’s experienced in the inspection and bidding process, can help you locate homes that match your preferences and set-up appointments for viewings.
Step 8: The offer and inspection. Even if the home checks all the boxes on your wish list and your offer is accepted, you’ll want to have the home inspected to reveal any issues that could represent unforeseen costs. A home inspection is just as important if you’re buying a fixer-upper, so that unexpected repairs or maintenance don’t come as a surprise after you've closed and take ownership.
Step 9: The final walk-through and closing time! After the inspection, do a final walk through to make sure what you and the seller agreed upon has been completed. Then, with all the necessary paperwork signed, you and your loan officer will make the deal official at your closing. Congratulations!Start the Process Today!