“The only real limitation on your abilities is the level of your desires. If you want it badly enough, there are no limits to what you can achieve.”
I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I officially became a first-time homeowner! I remember the feeling of being overjoyed as I sealed the deal to make one of my biggest dreams a reality. Becoming a homeowner had been on my vision board for several years, but I never knew when or how I would do it. I thought I needed to be married first, have perfect financial conditions, and be well into my 30s before even considering such a purchase. I was wrong. I didn’t think it would happen as soon as it did, especially being in my twenties and single, but I wasn’t afraid to allow myself to dream and put it in the atmosphere. I realized that not only was this a good move, but also it was a God move. I now know that God blessed me to have a testimony to share with others! I want to encourage you that no matter what your situation is, you can fulfill your dreams of becoming a homeowner. I am a witness that it is possible. No, you don’t have to be rich but you do have to do your research and that’s why I am here!
**Picture of me on Closing Day, February 2017!
**Pictured above with my realtor Candace Blue and lender Mike Lewis
I want to introduce you to one of my first Houston friends, Erin Wilson, who actually built her first home from the ground-up in her mid-twenties! I was so inspired by this girl boss that I started researching how to purchase a home and asked her for realtor referrals! Several months later, we became neighbors (yes, she put a sistah on!) and Erin recently became a realtor to help other millennials fulfill their dreams. Below, Erin shares 5 major keys for first-time homebuyers. Let’s hear from Erin on how to get the process started!
1. Prepare, prepare, PREPARE!
Start saving enough money for your down payment! For an FHA loan, you will need at least 3.5% of your home’s purchase price for a down payment. For a conventional loan, you will need at least 5%. However, there are many first time owner incentives and programs that will sometimes allow for a smaller down payment percentage! Either way, be sure to BEGIN SAVING NOW for your first home!
2. Find a Realtor who is fit for YOU
Finding a dependable and knowledgeable Realtor is a MAJOR key to your first-time home buying experience. Your Realtor’s sole purpose is to serve you and ensure that your process is as seamless and comfortable as possible. Your Realtor will help you with viewing your home options, making an offer, negotiating, closing and everything in between. Take the time to interview Realtors and find someone who you have an instant connection with. During the process, your Realtor will become your best-friend so you want to be sure that he/she fully understands your needs and puts YOU first as you make one of the largest purchases of your life!
3. Find a lender who will SECURE THE BAG
Now that you’ve secured a Realtor, it’s time to now choose a lender. Your Realtor will often have a recommended list of lenders for you to reach out to. Your relationship with your lender is just as important as your relationship with your Realtor as he/she will help you with the financial aspect of buying your first home. Ask them questions regarding their first time home owner incentives, interest rates, how long it takes them to close a deal, etc. Once you’ve selected your lender, have them provide you with a pre-approval letter that will show you “how much house” you can afford. Most Realtors will not show you a home until they receive your pre-approval letter. We want to be sure that we show you homes within your budget!
4. START looking for homes!
So now that you’ve secured a Realtor and a lender, you are good to go! You and your Realtor will work together to determine what location, price point, neighborhood amenities, number of bedrooms/baths, etc. are ideal for you. From there, you will go out with your Realtor and view the homes! Be sure to keep in mind RESALE VALUE! That is KEY in purchasing your first home. Remember, buying a home is an investment. You want to be sure that you select a home that you can easily resell later down the road and gain equity on. So while making decisions on what are “deal breakers” for you, ask yourself if that is also a common deal breaker for the average buyer. You want to ask questions like the following:
- Would a family be able to live comfortably in this home?
- Would a young professional want to buy this home as their first home?
- Is there enough of a backyard for a buyer who may have a pet?
- Is there enough living space (closet, kitchen, living area, etc) for the average home buyer?
5. Submit an Offer & Enter the CLOSING Process
Now that you’ve found the perfect first home for you, what’s next!? At this point, you will work with your Realtor to determine your offer price. Your Realtor will submit an offer on your behalf for the home. If your offer is accepted, your “under contract” process begins. During this process you will have a home inspection, appraisal, and an exchange of financial information to your lender. The process on average takes 30-45 days. During this time, it is KEY that you do not spend any money on big ticket items such as a car, furniture, appliances, etc. Save all of the big expenses for AFTER closing day!
After this, it should be smooth sailing here on out! I know this process can seem extremely overwhelming, but don’t let that deter you! That is what resources are for! If you have any questions, definitely reach out to Erin Wilson! You can reach her through her website, erinwilsonrealtor.com or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is ready and willing to help you make your first time home owner experience the best one it can be. Also, please feel free to drop questions and/or comments below! I would love to hear from you and answer some questions if I can! Don’t forget…Secure the bag, fulfill your dreams, and get those keys!