Buying Your First Home

Home For Sale
Posted at 8:15 AM, Apr 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-18 08:45:16-04

Tallahassee, FL (WTXL) -- Thinking about buying a home? First time home buyers have a lot to consider, from credit checks to down payments. While the process can be stressful, there are plenty of ways to get prepared. 

WTXL ABC 27's Christine Souders sat down with local realtor, Elizabeth Ekk, to talk more about becoming a first time home owner. 

Steps to follow when buying your first home:

  • Check the selling prices of comparable homes in your area. Do a quick search of actual multiple listing service, or MLS, listings in your area on a number of websites, including the National Association of Realtors. - NOT ZILLOW!
  • Use a mortgage calculator to get an idea of what your monthly mortgage payments would be if you bought today. Find out what your credit score is from a website like Credit Karma that will give you an idea if you are 550+
  •  Find out what your total monthly housing cost would be, including taxes and homeowners insurance. In some areas, what you'll pay for your taxes and insurance escrow can almost double your mortgage payment. - Get a tax estimation from the Leon Property Appraiser website.
  •  Find out how much you'll likely pay in closing costs. The upfront cost of settling on your home shouldn't be overlooked. Closing costs include origination fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items like homeowners insurance or homeowners' association fees. Closing costs in Tallahassee are approximately 3-3.5% of your purchase price if you are financing.
  • Look at your budget and determine how a house fits into it. Fannie Mae recommends that buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing costs. Go much past 30% and you risk becoming house-poor.
  • HUNT for a home! Current days on market is 108 days at an average of $164,046 per house sold since January 1, 2016.
  • Put an offer including: prequalification letter, earnest money & contract with disclosures. What does the earnest money deposit mean? When do you give the earnest money deposit?
  • Contract/negotiate - Use a Realtor - home warranty, closing date, as is - what does it mean?
  • Order appraisal, finalize application within 5 days, get satisfactory insurance, home inspection, WDO inspection, additional inspections
  • Final walk through, pre-approval, expectations at closing - drivers license.