(NAPSI)—The American dream of homeownership may not be as hard to attain as many people seem to fear. A few intriguing facts and hints can help.
While existing home sales have risen recently, the National Association of Realtors’ annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that the share of first-time buyers recently fell to its lowest level (33 percent) in nearly three decades.
Many first-time buyers experience obstacles on the path to homeownership, including difficulty saving for a down payment and tight credit conditions.
Consider these tips:
• Find and work with an expert Realtor who knows the neighborhood. Nothing can replace the local knowledge and real insight that professional Realtors can provide to first-time buyers as they navigate the complex home buying process.
According to the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, while most home buyers in the past year began their home search online, 90 percent ended up purchasing their home through an agent. Realtors are not only the source of online real estate data, they also use their unparalleled local market knowledge and resources to help close the deal for buyers and sellers.
• Meet with a lender to determine how much you can afford. Last year, the median price a first-time buyer spent on a home was $169,000. Chances are, you don’t have that amount of cash lying around. That’s why 95 percent of first-time buyers who bought a home in the past year financed their purchase.
Find out what you can afford with a preapproval from a lender. A lender will check your credit history, current debt obligations and other expenses to determine the amount of money you’re qualified to borrow at a specific interest rate. Don’t forget to consider the other costs of homeownership, such as taxes, insurance and utilities.
• Identify your housing wish list. Although 46 percent of first-time buyers got a single-family home in the suburbs, you may prefer a condo in an urban environment near public transportation.
Regardless of your preferences, identifying and sharing your wish list can help your Realtor focus on the right home for you, scan listings and connect with those who represent sellers to zero in on homes for sale that meet your budget and criteria.
Keep this advice in mind and you may soon find yourself waking up in the home of your dreams.