Rookie Rules: 10 Tips for Buying Your First Home

Affordable housing and a good economy in Central Indiana are some major factors inspiring first-time home buyers to take the leap into home ownership. But many in this group, particularly millennials, want to make sure they’re doing everything right to take advantage of this opportunity.

F.C. Tucker believes every potential home buyer deserves accurate information and the expertise of agents backed up by a real estate firm with a stellar reputation. Donna Kreps, President of Residential Real Estate Services, F.C. Tucker Co., offers some tips to get first-time homebuyers through this daunting, but exciting process stress-free:

  1. Know when you’re ready

Many factors play in to that perfect moment to take the leap into home ownership, such as how much house you can afford based upon your current budget. It’s important to take all additional costs that you will encounter during the sale into account when making this calculation, such as insurance and taxes. Also consider extra expenses you will incur owning the home, such as upgrades, maintenance, landscaping, utilities, homeowner association dues, private schools and commuting.

  1. Keep your search tools local

Just as you wouldn’t trust some big national retailer to tell you what’s available at any given moment in your local store, don’t put your faith in online services that are not affiliated with a local real estate company. Our Property Search online app and free Talk to Tucker mobile app have the most updated, accurate information for listings across the state of Indiana, because they’re updated in real time by our agents in the field.

  1. Reduce debt and increase disposable income

To qualify for a conventional mortgage, your monthly debt-to-income ratio should be 43 percent, or lower if you have a low credit score and not much cash in the bank. Now is the time to reduce your debt and build up your savings. Put off opening any new lines of credit or making major purchases, that would increase your debt-to-income ratio. Pay down credit cards and pay off installment loans, such as your car payment, to reduce your overall debt obligation. Increasing the amount of your disposable income will signal to lenders that you likely will not have trouble making monthly payments.

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