There are so many reasons to become a homeowner. Perhaps you’re tired of spending thousands of hard-earned dollars on rent with no equity in return. Maybe you have saved up and you’re ready to part ways with your parent’s basement. Or your family is growing and there just isn’t enough space for you to all live comfortably. Whatever your situation may be, you’re ready to become a homeowner. While this process may seem daunting, our team is here to help guide you and ensure you are prepared to embark on this major milestone.
We spoke with Dionne LeBlanc, Senior Loan Officer in Toms River, NJ, and Travis David, Vice President of Sales in Red Bank, NJ, to learn more about their top recommendations for first-time homebuyers!
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU ARE READY TO BECOME A HOMEOWNER?
David shared various factors you should consider before you take the leap. “The first thing to determine is if you are confident in where you want to live in the next five years. If you’re unsure of this, you could put yourself in a disadvantaged position by having to sell the home during a time when your equity may be less than when you purchased.”
“From a financial perspective, you also want to make sure that your cash flow is positive,” said David. “It’s important for families to be able to continue saving money on a monthly basis after they purchase the home to meet long-term financial goals and obligations. If your debt is too high or you do not have a high enough income to allow you to save, you should probably hold off.”
David also explained the importance of saving. “Do you have enough saved to fund the purchase, including a down-payment, closing costs, inspections, repairs, etc. and still have savings left over in an emergency fund? Having cash to fund these elements to avoid using credit is very important.”
HOW CAN I START PREPARING TO BUY A HOUSE?
LeBlanc recommends focusing on saving in order to become a homeowner. “Saving money is always smart, especially if you are looking to buy a home soon. You also want to get a good look at your credit so you can address any issues or incorrect reporting. A good mortgage loan officer will be able to tell you what you can do to increase your score to prepare. It is also important to pay down as much debt as possible.”
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A REALTOR?
There will be many realtors interested in working with you. However, David recommends working with a realtor that will take the time to understand your needs. “A quality realtor will get to know what is most important to you regarding a new home, help you search for homes that meet those needs, and implement a sound negotiating strategy that will help not only win the offer on that house but do so within your budget.”
WHAT OTHER COSTS SHOULD I PREPARE FOR IN ADDITION TO MY DOWN-PAYMENT?
While your down-payment will be the largest expense in becoming a homeowner, it’s critical to remember the other costs involved in this process. “In addition to your down-payment, you will need to pay closing costs,” said LeBlanc. “You will also need to prepay your taxes, insurance, and set up an escrow account. Your mortgage loan officer will be able to give you an estimate of the total costs to close.”Beyond concrete costs, David shared additional expenses that you should keep in mind. “Other often overlooked costs that should definitely be accounted for are moving expenses, furnishings and any immediate repairs or renovations.”
TELL US THE MOST MEMORABLE TIME YOU WERE ABLE TO HELP A FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER!
Helping first-time homebuyers is an incredibly rewarding experience. David shared how his advice helped a family reach their goal. “One of the most memorable home purchases for a first-time homebuyer was a family I helped back in 2015. They came to me with the dream of owning a home, but they were far off from a credit perspective as well as budget. I advised them this was going to take a while, but if they followed my advice they would get there.”
“Sure enough, over a year of credit repair and debt management, they followed my advice and ultimately ended up buying a home they love,” said David. “We give advice to so many but often it’s not followed. To have a family who followed through and was so appreciative was great!”
LeBlanc has worked with so many amazing first-time homebuyers that she couldn’t choose just one story to share! “So many memorable buyers! A veteran who was almost in tears when he closed on his house with 0% down. A pregnant couple that closed on their home just in time for the birth of their child. A family relocating to New Jersey from California who relied heavily on me for guidance. A borrower with a low credit score was able to build up her score with my help and buy her first home. I really enjoy working with first-time homebuyers to help make their dreams come true!”
Our team is eager to help you become a homeowner! By following these tips, you will have a better understanding of the process and how you should prepare for this exciting next chapter. Thank you to this month’s features Loan Officers!
Learn more about Dionne LeBlanc: https://dleblanc.fam1fund.com/
Learn more about Travis David: https://tdavid.fam1fund.com/