If you're like many people, you're planning to buy your first home this spring. This is an incredibly exciting time, but the homebuying process can be intimidating. The good news? You'll have a team of very important people who will work hard to make your experience as smooth as possible.
You'll meet many people along your homebuying journey, with the three most important being your housing counselor, real estate agent and lender.
Housing counselors are valuable professionals to consider when you begin the homebuying process. They can help you assess your financial situation, budget appropriately, and be well prepared for successful homeownership.
What can you expect from your housing counselor?
Your housing counselor will:
- Educate you on the homebuying process and homeownership
- Provide guidance on down payment options and local down payment assistance programs
- Help you understand the types of mortgages available
- Help you build, maintain and improve your credit
- Advise you on the role of your real estate agent and lender
- Provide budget and credit advice.
Your real estate agent likely will be the first person you'll meet from "your homeownership team." They play a very important role in finding a home that meets your needs and budget, and will be with you every step of the way during the homebuying process.
What can you expect from your real estate agent?
Your agent is expected to:
- Help you find your ideal home at the right price
- Answer your real-estate related questions
- Provide helpful information about neighborhoods, shopping, local schools, tax rates and safety
- Handle negotiations with the seller, working to get you a fair price
- Represent your needs
Your lender is an equally important part of your team, helping you determine if you qualify for a loan and how much they're willing to lend you. It's important to find a lender that you trust and who offers competitive rates and terms. It's also highly recommended that you meet with more than one lender to find the loan that is right for you and your finances.
What can you expect from your lender?
Your lender is expected to:
- Work with you to complete your mortgage loan application
- Evaluate your credit, financial, employment and personal information to determine how much you are qualified to borrow
- Educate you on the different mortgage options, rates, points and general mortgage terms
- Help you find the mortgage financing option that meets your financial capacity and personal goals
- Keep track of all activities throughout the loan approval process and keep you informed of key changes
- Provide you with the necessary forms before closing, including the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure, to help you understand all costs and terms before signing
The people you select to be part of your team are invaluable. Get to know them well, lean on them and ask questions – it's their job and this is your home. Learn more about other professionals that will play a role in your homebuying journey.