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First-time Homebuyers
Buying your first home can seem like an impossible goal, but it's really not that hard!  It's a complex transaction that takes your mortgage officer and real estate agent working together to get you into a home of your own.

Find out How Much Mortgage Can You Afford

You can save yourself a lot of wheel-spinning if you take a minute to figure out how much mortgage you can afford. The first step is to call Ryan Mortgage and get pre-qualified.  We'll be able to give you a price range to shop in.

We'll also give you a realistic idea of all the costs involved in the transaction including both closing costs and prepaid items (property taxes and homeowners insurance).

One of our favorite pieces of advice is to live a few months as though you had the mortgage/tax/insurance payment that you're thinking about.  Let's say you're considering a mortgage payment of $1,300 and your current rent is $900.  Put an extra $400 in your savings account each month (the difference between your rent and a potential mortgage) so you can make sure that you can handle the payment.  Better yet, you'll have extra money to put down on your new home!

Create Your "Wishlist"

Make your wish list. Focus on the features you want in a home: 2 bedrooms or 3? 1 bath or 2? Garage or no garage? Knowing what you're looking for will help you focus your search. And it will help your real estate broker, too.

Find a Real Estate Broker

You'll want to start searching for a broker as soon as you decide to buy a home. Talk to several and find someone you think you'll be comfortable working closely with. Many of your friends and relatives have probably bought and sold their homes through brokers. Ask them who they used and what their experiences were. We'd also be glad to refer you to a broker to help you.  When you talk to prospective brokers, ask questions about the areas and types of homes in which you're interested. Do they seem knowledgeable? Most important, is their personal style a good fit with your own?

Mortgages and Homebuying Programs

Many different kinds of mortgages are available to you. We'd be glad to take all the time you need to understand your options.  The most favorable interest rates are available with 20% or more down, however we have programs even if you have no money to put down.  

Shopping for a Home

Now you really begin house-hunting. Your real estate broker will be able to find listings for you, based on your wishlist. But don't stop there! You can do your own looking, and then ask your broker to show you the house. Start with the Internet. Pick up real estate flyers at local grocery stores and convenience stores. Read the real estate sections of your local newspaper. Drive around neighborhoods that interest you and write down addresses where there are "for sale" signs. Go to open houses. Try everything!

Home Inspections

When you make an offer on a home, it's a good idea to make your offer contingent on a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized inspector. You will have to pay for this inspection yourself, but it could keep you from buying a house that will cost you far more in repairs, down the road. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then your offer can proceed. If you aren't, you may want to negotiate, asking the seller to pay for certain repairs or asking for a lower price.


Every lender will require you to get an appraisal of the house you want to buy, to make sure it's worth the money that you're borrowing.  The typical cost of an appraisal is $275-$300.

Homeowner's Insurance

Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance, to protect both your interests and theirs. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs.  Nowadays a typical homeowner's policy will cost $600-$800 for a year.  You'll need to pay the first year's premium in advance.  The lender will then escrow 1/12th of that each month and make your 2nd year's payment for you.

Settlement or Closing

Finally, you've gone through the whole process, and you're ready to go to "settlement" or "closing." We know you'll be excited, but be sure to read everything you sign!  

There will be at least two attorneys involved in the transaction.  One representing the person that's selling you the home and the other will be representing the lender (that will cost you about $500).  Additionally you can either hire your own attorney to represent your interests or you may higher the lender's attorney to represent you as well.  If you choose to hire the lender's attorney for your personal representation (which will save you some money).