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First-Time Homebuyer Tips

Purchasing a home for the first time conjures feelings of both excitement and trepidation. Keeping a few tips in mind during the home buying process can help steer you in the right direction and keep your fears at bay.

Before you visit any homes, it’s important to make a list of your must haves versus your like to haves. This will help you prioritize what is most important. You can’t change your location after you purchase, so consider the neighborhood you would like to live in as well. Are you comfortable with the school district? Do people typically rent or own the homes in the neighborhood? What amenities does the neighborhood offer? How much space do you need if you are planning to grow your family in the next few years?

In addition to making a detailed list, you need to figure out what you can afford. First decide what your down payment will be. If your down payment is less than 20%, add in private mortgage insurance (PMI) to your monthly payment amount. You’ll also need to account for homeowner’s insurance, homeowner’s association dues, property taxes, utilities, and any necessary home improvements. 

When you’re ready to move forward, meet with several REALTORS® until you find one that can best meet your needs during the home buying process. A REALTOR® can help you search for homes based on your preferences, handle the submission of necessary forms, assist you in negotiating a price, and answer your questions. You can then get preapproved with your lender to find out how much you can borrow for your mortgage loan. 

It’s also a good idea to get educated. FORUM Credit Union offers a free online Resource Center and a First-Time Homebuyer Guide that can help make the experience easier. FORUM is also offering a First-Time Homebuyer Showcase at FORUM Conference Center on Saturday, March 19 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. This event will feature vendors and representatives who can help you with various aspects of buying a home. This event is free to the public, but requires registration by February 29, 2016.  You can RSVP here.  

To apply for a mortgage or get answers to your mortgage questions, call our FORUM Mortgage Specialists at 317.558.6160 or email