Tips for the First Time Home Buyer: How to Determine if You are Ready to Buy

For the first time home buyer, the process of finding and buying a home can become overwhelming. With a continually evolving economy, mortgage and interest rates that are in flux, and bankers who have become misers when it comes to approving loan applications, the enormity of the task is comparable to climbing Mount Everest.

But as with any journey, it’s not impossible if you take it one step at a time. And at the USDA Loan Agency we are here to help you as you take your first steps toward realizing the dream of homeownership. Use the list below to determine when you should think about buying a home.

  • Take inventory of the homes for sale in your area:  The goal is to set a price range. By looking at the available homes in your area, you’ll know what the average home is going for. Websites like Zillow.com are great tools for this. At the USDA Loan Agency, we also offer a USDA Home Search Tool, which identifies homes for sale in rural areas.
  • Check your finances: Once you determine the average prices of homes in your area, it’s time to decide whether or not you can afford one of those homes. At USDA Loans, we offer a Mortgage Payment Calculator, which can be used to determine what your monthly payments will be.
  • How’s your credit: While loan option, such as the Rural Development Home Loan program, do not require you to have a perfect credit score, your credit does need to be in good standing. And, you’ll need to spend some time making sure that all your payments are up to date.
  • Talk to a realtor: Start talking to realtors in your area to get a better gauge of the real estate climate. This can help you determine if prices are at their lowest, or if it may be better to wait for them to continue to fall.
Remember, with options like the USDA Home Loan program available, the dream of homeownership can become a reality for everyone. But you never want to rush into your decision. By taking the time to determine when to buy a home, you are able to ensure that you are making a sound financial choice.
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