Are you ready to start looking for your first home? Buying a home can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Your home will likely be the biggest investment you’ll make in your life, which can also make it your biggest risk. Don’t fall for the following myths:
Myth: If you pre-qualify for a loan, you will be approved for a mortgage
Loan approval involves an underwriter analyzing hundreds of pages of documentation, as well as considering other factors like the home appraisal report. A pre-qualification letter, however, is based on a quick, preliminary analysis of your credit report. Getting the letter is a recommended early step to show you’re a serious buyer, but it doesn’t mean a loan approval is guaranteed.
Myth: You need 20% for a down payment
There’s an array of loan options that don’t require 20 percent down — in fact, this amount is rare in today’s home buying market. According to the National Association of Realtors, 60 percent of millennials are putting just 6 percent down on average.
Saving for a big down payment can be advantageous, but you don’t want to deplete your savings or risk coming up short on your mortgage payment. Instead, you should save as much as possible for unexpected expenses.
Myth: You don’t need a real estate agent
Realtors are so important to the home buying process. Real estate agents get a commission, but the home buyer does not pay their fee. It is paid by the seller and is built into the selling price. Every seller expects to pay a buyers agent commission. If you show up without one thinking you can get a 3% discount on the price you will quickly regret it. Realtors help you get the lowest purchase price with their expertise and using comparables. Real estate contracts are long and often hard to understand for the average person. There are many items such as home appraisals, inspections, opt-out clauses, etc. that you need to know about in depth in order to protect yourself.
Myth: You need a perfect credit score
Your credit score doesn’t have to be flawless for you to be able to find a mortgage that fits your budget. It surprises many when they talk to a lender and realize that they can still qualify, even with a lower credit score. To offset potential negative factors on your credit history, you may need to have a larger down payment or meet other qualifications, but you don’t need to have a “perfect credit score” to qualify.