3 Steps on Buying Your First Home in the Council Bluffs area
Buying your first home can seem like a daunting task. With all the details to consider, such as which neighborhood to choose, how may bedrooms you will need, how to finance it, and countless others, it can become overwhelming. Where to begin? At Heartland Properties, we understand what it’s like to buy your first home, and that’s why our agents are here to help. Here are 3 steps to help you buy your first home in the Council Bluffs area:
1. Make Sure You’re Financially Ready
The first step in buying a new home in the Council Bluffs area is to make sure your finances are in order and that your credit report is in good shape. Making sure you are financially stable is essential in qualifying for loans and moving forward with a home purchase. At least two years of employment at the same company will make you more appealing to lenders. You’ll also want to check your credit report and make sure it’s in good standing. Having a history of paying your bills on time, your debt to credit ratio, and the number of active credit accounts you have are all factors in your overall credit score. Also, verify you have liquid assets that will allow you to make a good down payment.
2. Determine What You Can Afford
If you are in fact ready to buy a new home, then your next step should be determining your debt-to-income ratio. To find this, you will add up your total monthly bill payments and then divide it by your gross monthly income. Generally, expenses such as food, utilities, and taxes aren’t included in your debt amount. Convert the quotient into a percentage. This percentage is your debt-to-income ratio. An ideal ratio is 35% or lower.
You’ll also want to make sure you have money available to make a down payment, ideally 20%. This lowers a mortgage lender's risk, which makes them more willing to work with you. As a general rule, most lenders will require you to pay for mortgage insurance if you don’t make at least a 20% down payment on the home.
3. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Finding an experienced real estate agent to work with will make every step of navigating the homebuying process easier. Having someone on your side who is knowledgeable about the local housing market, techniques to ensure your offer is accepted, and filling out all of the required paperwork for closing is a priceless asset. Once you know you’re financially ready and have an idea of what you can reasonably afford, your agent will work with you to find a house that fits your needs and your budget.
We hope these 3 steps on buying your first home in Council Bluffs were helpful. At Heartland Properties, we welcome first-time home buyers and look forward to serving you! When you’re ready to start your journey to home ownership, contact us!