Give me your top reads, websites, or resources for a first time home buyer...
I feel that I have been sticking to the bogleheads philosophy pretty well and staying the course.
What are peoples thoughts on large down payments on homes?
Thoughts on VA loans vs traditional loans?
First, ensure you have a budget in place and know what you are willing to spend. Also have an IPS in place (see the wiki for more info). Do you have a good credit score? If not, do you know how you can improve it? Are your other debts paid off (or close to it)? Will you have money in reserve to handle inevitable house expenses that will come your way? What are your long-term investing goals? What can you afford with a 15-year mortgage and does that make sense in your situation?
If you don’t already have a lender, ask for referrals. Real estate agents often have people they can recommend. From experience, they know which lenders have provided good service to their past clients and have smooth closings.
As I understand it, an advantage of getting a VA loan is a minimum down payment. Whatever program you choose, focus on minimizing closing costs. Lenders will offer you a lower interest rate if you pay points, meaning you pay more upfront. With interest rates already low, you can opt to bypass this option. The lender should give you a loan estimate, detailing information about all costs. You can use this to compare costs between lenders.
Everyone has advice when it comes to working with a real estate agent. Use one for your first purchase, IMHO. Not all are the same. A smart agent will be willing to help you understand the home buying process. They will want your repeat business.
This info may vary depending on what state you are in: If you opt to use an agent as a Buyer’s Agent (which means you have a formalized agreement to work with that person), they have the fiduciary responsibility to work on your behalf and provide you with information that you need to make a decision. Without this type of agreement, the person showing you houses is actually representing the seller in the transaction. Be sure you understand this upfront and ask your agent if you are unclear.
When you make an offer, be sure to review any disclosure forms. Be prepared to pay for a homeowners inspection. Not every problem will be a show stopper. You need to decide if you can live with a problem, ask the seller to remedy the problem, or negotiate terms because of the problem. Your agent can provide more guidance.
This doesn’t cover every nuance in the process, but should give you some idea of what to expect. Best wishes!