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Buying your first home is big and scary.

Buying a home isn’t like buying a car or making any other big purchase. It’s a big deal, and it’s not something you should take lightly if you’re preparing to go through the home-buying process for the first time. At The Estrada Agency, we’re dedicated to showing you the beautiful houses for sale in Orange County, but we don’t stop there. Our number one priority is to help you get into the home of your dreams, and there are lots of things you can do to prepare yourself for the process. Here are a few expert tips for preparing to buy your first home:

#1. Make sure that your credit score is in order.

You don’t have to have perfect credit in order to buy a house, but you should have at least a solid credit score. The higher your credit score is, the better rates you’ll qualify for, and if you have a lower credit score — below 680 — you’ll be looking at a higher down payment and interest rates. Before you delve into the home-buying process, know what your credit score is, and if necessary, start taking steps to improve it.

#2. Determine what kind of mortgage payment you can afford.

What the banks says you can afford and what you can actually afford aren’t always one and the same. That’s why it’s important to figure out exactly how big of a mortgage payment you can take on before you apply for a loan and start looking at homes. Keep in mind that owning a home is more of a financial commitment than just the mortgage. You’ll also have to pay for maintenance, repairs and replacements, so make sure that you budget for saving every month in addition to paying your mortgage.

#3. Start saving for your down payment and closing costs.

In order to secure financing for your new home, you’ll have to have your down payment and closing costs set aside early on. Depending on the type of loan you qualify for, you’ll need to save between 3 and 20 percent of the home price for the down payment. If you’re not confident in your ability to save up a down payment, be sure to ask your loan officer about down payment assistance opportunities you may qualify for. Closing costs are another big expense you’ll need to save for, and they are typically between 2 and 5 percent of the cost of the home.

#4. Get preapproval for a mortgage.

Don’t make the mistake of going out and looking at homes before you get preapproved for a mortgage. If you find one you love, and there are other buyers who are interested in it, you can’t make a strong offer unless you’ve already been preapproved for a mortgage. Plus, getting preapproved will give you a clear idea of how much you qualify for.

#5. Give yourself lots of time.

Even if you have all of your ducks in a row ahead of time, finding the right home can take time. The last thing you want is to be rushed into buying the first house you look at because you are short on time. Giving yourself lots of time gives you the ability to be a lot pickier, which is essential when you’re making what’s likely to be the biggest purchase of your life.

Let us help you find the home of your dreams.

At The Estrada Agency, we’re dedicated to helping you find the right home for you in Orange County, and we’re here to help you through the ins and outs of buying your first home. Contact us today to get started!

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