Over the last few years, it has been difficult for first-time homebuyers in Greenville to purchase a home. But wait… We have good news! With lending institutes losing their standards and lower interest rates, 2016 is looking very favorable for first-time homebuyers.
Here are 15 Money Saving Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
1. Include A Contingency Clause In The Contract
A Mortgage Financing Contingency Clause protects you if you lose your job and the loans fall through or the appraisal prices come in under the purchase price. Should one of these occur, the buyer gets the money back they used to secure the property, also known as “earnest money”.
2. Geography & Taxes
Property taxes are assessed by the county every few years. It is good to make sure you can afford the property taxes if they increase.
3. Pay for a Home Inspection
Only about 8 out of 10 buyers get an inspection prior to closing. When looking at buying a home it is very important you get a home inspection as there could be hidden problems that can only be seen by a professional. Finding a problem after you own the home could cost you thousands in the long run.
4. Shop for Your Mortgage
Don’t start shopping for a house before you get a pre-approval letter from a mortgage company. Saving a half a percentage point on a say $200,000 home loan can save you $64/month, or $23,000 over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Research your financing options with multiple lenders is the best way to get the lowest interest rates. Consult with a mortgage broker for this process.
5. Consider All Expenses
Here are just some of the cost when buying a home;
- Down Payment
- Closing Cost
- Appraisal Fee
- Home Inspection
- Termite Inspection
- Mortgage Payment
- Property Taxes
- Homeowner’s Insurance
- Private Mortgage Insurance
6. HOA Fees
If you live in a subdivision Homeowner’s Association fees can be a low as $0 or as high as a few hundred dollars per month depending on the amenities/services offered.
7. Sidestep Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
If all possible avoid paying PMI by putting 20% downpayment on the house. If you don’t have 20% to put down you will have to pay PMI which isn’t tax deductible.
8. Make Conservative Income Estimates
When you are determining the amount of mortgage you are able to afford, base the number on how much you are making today. Don’t base mortgage payment potential off your expected bonus or salary increase. No one can predict the future. and although you may be in a better financial situation a year down the road, nothing is certain. Make conservative estimates based on stable income sources.
9. Don’t Buy A House for the View
Buy the view, not the house. Have you ever heard of those stories of people going to court warring over a new development that will restrict their view of the lake or nature reserve? These people bought the house for the view, now within a year of moving in, the view is gone. Unless you own the land between your house and the view, never buy a house for the view. It could change overnight.
10. Don’t Be House Poor
Rule of thumb: Don’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on a mortgage payment.
This is a common one. Many first-time buyers fall in love with their dream home and neighborhood (or the idea of owning a home) and pay above their budget. This leaves them with zero money left over to do the things they like, or even worse, enough money to cover home, car and medical bills. This can quickly get ugly.
11. Choose the RIGHT Mortgage
30 Year Mortgage vs 15 Year Mortgage
- 30 Year Mortgage – Over the life of a $200,000, 30-year mortgage at 5 percent, you’ll pay 360 monthly payments of $1,073.64 each.
- 15 Year Mortgage– Over the life of a $200,000, 15-year mortgage at 5 percent, you’ll pay 180 monthly payments of $1,581.59 each.
12. Pay Extra
Save yourself a ton of time and money by making extra mortgage payments each month or year. On a 30-year $250,000 mortgage at 6% percent interest, paying an extra $100 each month will cut four years and nearly $72,000 off the loan term.
13. Negotiate Closing Cost
Ask your real estate agent to ask the seller to pay their closing cost. This will lower the burden of how much extra money will you will have to bring to the closing table. Freeing up more cash to get that new living room furniture you are wanting.
14. Bundle Insurance
Explore bundling your home, auto, and other insurances together. Shop around, you can save hundreds of dollars each year if you find a good package deal.
15. Study the Market
Make sure you know exactly what other homes are listed and sold for in the area you are looking to buy in. This will give you a solid idea of how much you can expect to pay for a home of similar specs. This will make you more informed in the negotiation process and keep your agent honest when working through the terms of the contract.
Special thanks to Jake Durtschi for creating this fantastic infographic.
If you are considering purchasing a home in the Greenville or Simpsonville SC area, we would love to help you. By the way, did you know that you do not have to pay us for our services? Yep, that’s right. When we represent you as your buyer’s agent, the seller pays our commission. You can’t beat that. We have helped hundreds of first-time homebuyers get the home of their dreams.
Call us today so we can help you find the home you will love.