2. Find a Real Estate Agent
Choosing the right real estate agent is a vital decision for first home buyers’ success in finding the perfect home. You will want someone highly skilled, motivated to find the right home, and extremely knowledgeable about the market and area first home buyers are looking to buy.
The best place to start is checking with friends and family to see if they have any suggestions on local realtors, they have had a great experience with. Getting a referral from someone you trust can help make sure the one you choose has your best interest in mind.
If no luck there see if you have anyone in your network in another part of the industry such as a mortgage broker, closing attorney, or in insurance. All those fields normally have close working relationships with realtors.
First home buyers will also want to make sure the realtor they choose is experienced for their situation. First home buyers have a unique position to take advantage of local or federal assistance programs discussed later in this post, and you will want to have an agent that can guide you through those. You can also check to see if they have completed any specialized training such as the below:
- Certified Residential Specialist (CRS): Hold a deeper understanding of residential real estate
- National Association of Realtors (NAR): Held to a code of ethics and will be indicated by the capital R on Realtor.
- Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR): Have more training in representing buyers
Once you have a few options do your research on them to see who will suit you the best. Check to see if they have any disciplinary actions.
As a first home buyer it is suggested to interview at least three agents. Finally ask for references and follow up with those people to see how their experience is and what their relationship is with the real estate agent.
3. Know Your Credit Score
Accessing your credit score is vital to knowing where you will rank with lenders when starting to think about being a first home buyer in Richmond, Virginia.
If not, as favorable you will want to make a strategy of small things that can make big impacts to try raise it as much as possible. As a first home buyer having knowledge of where you rank will also help you narrow down the type of loan you will qualify for.
Most all major credit card companies provide a credit tracker to help monitor your credit, so if you have a credit card check with them to see what is available.
Get Your Credit Report
You are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months. Annualcreditreport.com is the only truly free credit report available and is backed by the FTC.
The credit report doesn’t actually show your score but it does give you important information detailing every account and item on your credit report.
Things like debts and accounts you have open and can help you determine any fraud under your personal information.
4. Research State and Local Assistance Programs
In addition to federal programs, the VHDA offers programs for first home buyers with perks such as down payment assistance, and there are other programs possibly set up to help with closing cost assistance, tax credits, and discounted interest rates.
Your county or municipality may also have first home buyer programs. There are also first home buyer programs set up for first responders, nurses, doctors, and our military. Make sure to take advantage of what is available to you!
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