Comprehensive First-Time Home Buyer Resources

Buying your first home is exciting and nerve-wracking. For most people, a home is the largest and most complex purchase they’ll ever make. In a competitive real estate market like Washington’s Snohomish, Skagit, Pierce, and King counties, the process may seem even more overwhelming at the outset.

That’s why Odigo Real Estate Club compiled this collection of first-time home buyer resources. This information can help you start your home-buying journey on the right foot and eliminate many of the pitfalls and challenges you might otherwise encounter. Our team of experienced agents is on your side as coaches and advisors and is always available to answer questions and offer insights to make the home-buying process as streamlined and stress-free as possible.

Why First-Time Home Buyers Have an Advantage

Even when inventory is low and prices are high, some qualifying individuals have the advantage of being first-time buyers. You can access first-time homebuyer resources putting ownership within reach, including bank and federal loan programs that reduce the minimum down payment, provide closing cost assistance, or waive other loan restrictions.

The definition of a first-time home buyer is broad and includes the following demographics:

  • People making their first home purchase
  • People purchasing a home for the first time after a minimum of three years since owning another principal residence
  • Single parents who only owned a home with a former spouse
  • Both spouses when only one owned property in the past
  • Displaced homemakers who only owned property with a spouse
  • People who only owned a home that did not have a foundation, such as a mobile home on wheels
  • People who owned an irreparable property that did not meet code standards

Preparing To Buy a Home

A home is a major investment, and if you don’t take the time to get your finances in order before you start shopping, you’re likely to face disappointment and frustration.

Odigo Real Estate provides financial coaching to prospective home buyers to help them get into the best possible position to purchase property. As Dave Ramsey ELP-certified coaches, we can help clients set a budget, get out of debt, and make smart investments to secure their financial futures. We’re also here to help clients establish the right mindset and stay accountable to their plans, ensuring they stay on track with their goals.

Are You Ready To Buy?

Before shopping for a home, ask yourself some important questions to determine whether you’re in a position to buy.

1. Can I afford a home?

The overall cost of the home is more than just the selling price. In addition to the down payment and mortgage payments, you must budget for interest, insurance, property taxes, and maintenance. Use a mortgage calculator to evaluate different scenarios and get a sense of what you can afford.

2. Do I have good credit?

Your credit score is one of the most substantial factors in determining loan terms and the overall cost of your home. A lender may approve your application even if you have less-than-stellar credit, but you’ll pay a higher interest rate and more fees and may need to make a larger down payment. It’s best to clean up your credit and pay down debt before trying to buy a new home.

3. Do I plan to stay in the area for a while?

If you only plan to live in this part of Washington for a few years, buying a home may not make sense financially. Most of your monthly mortgage payments in the early years go toward interest, so you won’t gain much equity if you sell too soon. Living in your home for a while also allows it to appreciate, increasing your overall equity.  

Get Serious About Your Finances

Once you know you’re in a good position to buy, you can move forward. This begins with organizing your finances and starting the mortgage process so you can act quickly when finding a home you want to purchase.  

Check Your Credit

Did you know that a significant number of credit reports contain errors? Before applying for a mortgage, request a free copy of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus and review the information. If you find errors, file disputes to correct or remove the inaccurate information.

Reduce Debt

Paying off your debt can raise your credit score and help you get the most competitive interest rates. It also reduces your debt-to-income ratio, which lenders look at to determine whether you qualify for a loan and for how much. Lenders generally will only lend to applicants with a debt-to-income ratio under 43%.

Save Money for a Down Payment

Even with first-time home buyer resources that reduce how much you need to put down on a new home, plan to put some cash toward the purchase at closing. Conventional loans usually require a down payment of at least 20%, but you may be able to put down as little as 3% to 5% if you borrow via FHA or VA programs. Some USDA loans don’t require any down payment, but you should still put cash aside to cover closing costs and other expenses.

Shopping for Your New Home With Odigo Real Estate

When you feel confident you’re ready to start looking for your dream home, meet with a real estate agent to review your budget, needs, and wish list.

One of the first questions a Realtor will ask is whether you have chosen a mortgage lender and applied for a pre-approved loan. Starting the financing process before you shop shows sellers you’re serious and that you can secure financing. Some seller agents won’t even accept offers without proof of pre-approval.

Buyers have to navigate a crowded mortgage lending landscape, but Odigo Real Estate has first-time home buyer resources to help clients identify the best lenders for their situations. We do the legwork and make recommendations to ensure clients get the best rates and service. It’s easy for inexperienced buyers to fall into the trap of working with a “discount” lender, but this can result in a stressful experience, missed closings, and other problems if the broker doesn’t follow through on promises.

At Odigo Real Estate, we value our role as a trusted advisor and friend to clients and only recommend home loan companies with proven track records.

Finding the Perfect Property

Buying a home starts with a consultation with the real estate agent to review your must-haves and wish list. Shopping in a tight market often means making compromises, and your agent will help you set realistic expectations.

Once you identify the property, the agent will assist you with making an offer and the negotiations. Properties in the Seattle area and surrounding counties often sell quickly, so you must be ready to act fast when you find what you want.

Although contingencies or conditions on the offer are common when demand is low, talk to your agent about what you can reasonably ask for from the seller. The most common contingencies are appraisals and home inspections, which allow you to adjust your offer if the home value is significantly less than the asking price or needs significant work. Odigo Real Estate covers inspections, making that one less thing to worry about.

Completing the Transaction

When the buyer accepts your offer and meets all the contingencies, it’s time to schedule a closing. This means the lender releases the loan funds, and you assume ownership of your new home. Your agent will keep you up to date on the closing and provide first-time home buyer resources to guide you through the process, including what to bring to closing and scheduling a final walk-through.

Odigo Real Estate takes the closing one step further with a special key ceremony to officially welcome buyers to their new homes. We’ll follow up after you move in to ensure you’re settling in and assist with anything else you may need.

Find Guidance in a Difficult Real Estate Market With Us!

As a first-time house buyer, it’s easy for the always-shifting market, legal paperwork, and real estate agencies to feel dizzying. Why go through it all alone when Odigo Real Estate Club has over ten years of experience to help you buy homes?

Our services provide everything you need, from financial coaching from ELP-certified Dave Ramsey to effectively buying and listing homes. We also offer investment services for fixing and flipping.

So, when you’re ready for a company with over 100 five-star reviews on Zillow and over 8,000 successful transactions, contact Odigo Real Estate Club. Call 425-409-3823 or schedule a free consultation today for services in Snohomish, King, Skagit, and Pierce counties or more first-time home buyer resources!

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