This is the home buyer's market of a lifetime, with more opportunities--and challenges--than most of us could have ever foreseen. If you're paying monthly rent today, there is a good chance you could be ready for home ownership. Yes, you a home owner--even in this economy.
Despite what you may have heard, mortgage lenders have plenty of credit available for qualified buyers. The key is knowing exactly how much of a home you qualify for--without overextending yourself. Before you begin your house hunting journey, work with a mortgage lender to get pre-qualified. Once you're pre-qualified, you will know what price range to search for your perfect dream home. Getting pre-qualified not only saves you time, but frustration and disappointment if you find a home that is outside of your budget.
Best Bargains in Years, Right Now
Have you been a renter all your life, dreamed of owning your own home--but felt like it wasn't possible, especially with the bad news we all hear on the news about the housing and mortgage markets? Well, let's set a couple of things straight to put your mind at ease.
For starters, mortgage interest rates are at all time lows. For example, the average rate nationwide for the benchmark 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage is forecast to go down in the near term, not up. Yes, rates will begin to edge up eventually. But you still have time to take advantage of the best bargain in mortgage rates in decades. Next, home prices are lower than they've been in a very long time.
Given the historically low interest rates and home prices, home buying is about as good as it gets right now!
Seven Steps to Buying Your First Home
1. Forget about fear. We've all heard the stories about first-time buyers getting in over their heads and losing their homes to foreclosure. The mortgage industry is working very hard to make those stories a thing of the past. You might say the industry has learned its lesson. So if you've been making a rent payment regularly for some time--and you have established good credit--you may be a good candidate for a mortgage. There are a lot of options available for first-time buyers. Call Citi at 1-800-248-4638 any time to talk it over with a mortgage professional.
2. Get the right mortgage for you. When you start exploring, here's the most important thing to remember: It's about much more than the monthly payment. You need to be sure the mortgage makes sense for you long-term.
3. Find the right home for today and tomorrow. Here's where the right real estate professional can make all the difference. Like a mortgage, the home you select should be one that you plan to have for a long time. You will want to plan ahead so you and your family don't outgrow the home. Talk to your real estate professional about your plans today and in the future.
4. Make an offer the seller will accept. It is a buyer's market, but you need to be realistic too. Again, your real estate professional will be critical in determining what to offer. Keep in mind that your offer is much more than the sales price. You also need to factor in finance terms, timing and contingencies for opting out of the deal, should you need to.
5. Do your homework. Doing 'due diligence' on the home you are considering buying is critical. You may want to consider commute routes, talk to homeowners in the neighborhood, review property restrictions, find out how much homeowner's insurance (and possibly flood insurance if the home is in a special flood hazard area) will cost, and get details on the homeowner association (HOA) and dues before you make an offer. Some HOA fees can be substantial. You should also consider having a thorough property inspection to expose any hidden (and unwelcome) issues that may arise once you're handed the keys.
6. Closing on your home. Buying a home is the single biggest purchase we make in our lives, so don't be alarmed by the stack of daunting documents sitting on the closing table. Take your time during closing, make sure you completely understand every document you sign, and by all means ask questions.
7. Maintain your home. Once your own your dream home, you will want to be sure to maintain it. Understanding the value and importance of proper home maintenance is critical to protecting your new home's value for years to come. For example, you don't want to let leaking pipes go unrepaired for months. If you do, it can lead to additional repairs and more extensive damage. It's best to fix damage and make repairs immediately to avoid additional damage and expense for repair.
Buying your first home can be a little overwhelming, but fortunately there are professionals available to guide you through each step and make the process as easy as possible. To get pre-qualified or talk about mortgage options at Citi, call us at 1-800-248-4638 or apply online.
† Calls are randomly monitored and recorded to ensure quality service.
© 2011 Citibank, N.A., equal housing lender, member FDIC. Citibank, Citi and Citi with Arc Design are service marks of Citigroup Inc.
© 2011 Citibank, N.A. This is not a commitment to lend. Terms and conditions of programs, products and services are subject to change. All loans are subject to credit and property approval. Certain restrictions may apply on all programs. Offer cannot be combined with any other mortgage offer. Citibank, N. A., equal housing lender, member FDIC. Citibank, Citi and Citi with Arc Design are service marks of Citigroup Inc.