It’s possible! With focus and the right team working for you, you can buy a home with less than 20% down. These three steps will help you secure your dream home with a little extra financial help.
- Improve Your Credit
We’ve talked before about the importance of paying off debt to improve your credit score. If you want a mortgage with a down payment of less than 20% you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get your debts paid off.
If your credit score isn’t great, don’t be discouraged. There are a number of ways to improve your score. Almost any mortgage professional can help point you in the right direction and counsel you on what steps to take.
Not sure what is considered good credit? Read about them here.
- Consider Municipal and State Programs
Each state has its own loan assistant programs. Washington D. C. has the DC Open Doors program that allows buyers to put as little as 3% down.
If you are a first time home buyer an FHA loan option is available to you. FHAs are great for buyers who have less-than-perfect credit and want to put down a low down payment. With an FHA you can qualify for a down payment as low as 3.5%.
Research what your state offers and after you make a purchase remember that there are real estate tax breaks you should know about.
- Work With The Right Mortgage Lender
A mortgage lender who genuinely cares about your success in getting a loan is who you want to work with. Shop around until you find the right lender. While talking with them help them feel comfortable with the idea of lending money to you. Get to know them and let them get to know you.
As the weekend approaches and you’re getting geared up to visit some open houses remember this tip: walk around the outside of the house. Sometimes buyers get so focused on the inside of a home that they forget how important it is to give the outside a once-over.
Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and walk the entire perimeter. Does the paint look fresh? Is there any chipping along the edge of the house? Does the roof look well taken care of? Are there gutters and have they been doing their job?
While you’re outside keep your eyes and ears on high alert. Remember that neighbors and nearby traffic come with the house. Do you have the privacy that you want? Are there any disruptive sounds that would regularly be bothersome to you?
Asking yourself the questions will help you determine if a home has the outdoor appeal that you’re looking for.
Turn-key homes mean turn-key prices. If your realtor is showing you older homes you’ve probably been distracted by what you think are “deal breakers”. But wait… we’ve got a remedy for each of your easily fixable deal breakers! Before saying “no” to what could be your perfect property take a look at what you can do to make a house the home of your dreams.
- Paint Colors
Paint colors can be extremely distracting, but instead of focusing on something that is easy and inexpensive to change, focus on the layout of the home and if it has all of the features you’re looking for.
The idea of having to remove wallpaper can be a bummer, but just like paint, it’s an easy fix.
- Hardware and Accessories
Especially with older homes hardware and accessories can be dated or downright ugly. Replacing these won’t be a big hit on your budget and take no time at all.
- Old Carpet
Flooring is a more expensive replacement, but well worth it if you’re buying an older home with a price that leaves room for improvements.
- Popcorn Ceilings
These have been outdated for years. Popcorn ceilings are also a bit expensive to remove, but again well worth it in the end. You can either take this project on yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
- Curb Appeal
Great curb appeal doesn’t always depend on the home itself. Curb appeal includes a well-kept yard, clean driveway, trimmed trees and hidden trashcans and air-conditioning units. With all of that in order and a fresh coat of paint on the house you’re good to go!
Privacy is especially important in tight neighborhoods or when an unfriendly neighbor lives next door. Hedges and fences make great barriers between you and the surrounding homes.