Home Buyer Resources
Buying a new home is a significant undertaking for seasoned or first-time homebuyers. There are many steps between the decision to purchase a house and closing on the house. You must secure financing, hire a real estate professional, and, eventually, close on the house. If you're considering a home purchase, research the available resources first.
This Findlaw article briefly reviews different home buyer resources to help you through the process.
Before you hire a realtor or real estate agent, you should determine what price home you can afford. If you're not paying cash for your dream home, explore different financing options, including first-time home buyer programs.
Federal Assistance Programs
The federal government offers several different home loan assistance programs through the following federal agencies:
- Federal Housing Authority (FHA loan): Part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA loan)
- Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA loan)
These federally backed assistance programs don't make home loans but offer favorable interest rates and low down payments. You can often qualify for these loans with an average (as opposed to excellent) credit score. Borrowers should check with their mortgage lender to determine eligibility for federally backed loan programs.
State and Local Assistance Programs
You can also check with your state for assistance programs, including the following:
- Down payment assistance programs
- Closing cost assistance
- Assistance programs for low-income persons and families
For example, Montgomery County, Maryland, offers programs to help with closing costs. You can do an internet search for assistance programs near you.
Other Federal Resources
Other federal resources include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Mortgage Discrimination (Federal Trade Commission)
- Reverse Mortgages (Federal Trade Commission)
- HUD FHA Home Buying Guide (HUD)
- Consumer Handbook on Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (Federal Reserve Board)
The Mortgage Process
Most first-time home buyers need a mortgage to buy their home. Banks and mortgage companies offer many resources to help you through the process. Mortgage calculators are one tool most mortgage lenders provide on their websites. These affordability calculators allow you to enter your financial information to help you determine how much home you can afford. These calculations, however, are not binding.
For more concrete estimates of the following, you should contact a bank or mortgage company directly:
- Loan amount
- Mortgage rates
- Monthly mortgage payments
Hiring a Real Estate Professional
Hiring a real estate professional to help you find your dream home is daunting for some. Resources like the National Association of Realtors (NAR) can help you find the right professional. The NAR is a professional organization for realtors and real estate agents. You can learn more about the organization or get a referral on their website.
For help interviewing a prospective real estate professional, check out Findlaw's Interview With Real Estate Brokers.
Closing on Your First Home
Once you find your dream home, deposit earnest money and enter into your purchase agreement. Your next step is to close on the property. The closing process is when you should do your due diligence before signing your mortgage loan documents.
During the closing process, you can expect the following:
- A home inspection
- A home appraisal
- Title search and title insurance
- Property tax estimates
- Closing cost disclosure (including homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance)
Findlaw offers many home buyer resources. You can click on a link below for additional home buyer resources.
Get Legal Help
These home buyer resources are not a substitute for legal advice. A qualified real estate attorney can help you through the home-buying process. Speak to an experienced real estate attorney near you today.
Learn About Home Buyer Resources
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