If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you need to know these five terms before you begin the process.

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We’re back again for another episode of Keeping in Tune With the Market. Today we’re going to discuss the five terms that first-time homebuyers need to know before going to look at their first house to make sure they are fully prepared:

1. Pre-approval. What’s the difference between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification? A pre-qualification is pretty informal and can be done over the phone. It’s more of a first-step type of thing. A pre-approval, on the other hand, will get you pretty close to the finish line as far as your loan is concerned. It’s more of a concrete step that takes all of your financial information into account and lets you know exactly how much you can afford.

2. FHA mortgage. FHA stands for the Federal Housing Authority. This is a federally backed loan that only requires buyers to put down 3.5% for their down payment. With a conventional mortgage, you need 10% to 20% down. If you don’t have a lot of money or a lot of credit, it still allows you to lock in an interest rate and buy a home.

“THESE ARE FIVE GOOD TERMS TO START WITH.”

3. Down payment. A down payment is the earnest money that a seller gets from a buyer when they sign the contract. There’s quite a range on how large a down payment can be. It could be as little as a few thousand dollars, or it could go up to 20% of the purchase price, depending on the type of mortgage you get. This money cannot be removed by the buyer or seller arbitrarily until the sale is closed.

4. Appraisal. Many people don’t really know what an appraisal actually is. An appraisal happens when an authorized appraiser from a third-party source comes out to value the property. They are doing this on the buyer’s behalf to make sure that their lender is taking a good risk for a bad risk. The value they come up with is determined by other comparable sales in the neighborhood as well as the condition and location of the home.

5. Closing costs. We’re almost at the finish line when these come into play. Closing costs can vary greatly, and they might be higher than you’re expecting. However, you can benefit from these closing costs in the long run. They usually come out to be anywhere from 2% to 5% of the total purchase price of the house, but you should have your lender give you a good faith estimate so you know exactly what those costs will be.

Although there are a lot more terms you’ll need to know as a first-time homebuyer, these five are good ones to start with. If you have any questions for us in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.