Century 21 Realtor Terry Rankin Examines Essentials of Buying a First Home

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Indianapolis Realtor Terry Rankin, of Century 21 Scheetz, lists the top seven tips first-time homebuyers should follow.

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If you are not comfortable with the Realtor you are working with, part ways and find someone else. The right Realtor will be there to help you down the road when you are ready to sell and buy a bigger home.

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases in a person’s life. “However, first-time homebuyers, although usually excited, are typically unaware of the buying process,” said Rankin, who has been a real estate agent since 1996.

To educate first-time buyers on the process, Rankin lists the following seven tips:

No. 1: Work on your credit. “If you know you want to buy a home, work on getting the best credit score you can get,” stressed Rankin. “Check your credit report, and work to fix anything that seems out of the ordinary. Your loan officer can give you insight on what to work on. Mortgage rates are based on your credit score, so the higher the score, the better the rate.”

No. 2: Talk to several lenders to find the best program. First-time buyers should always shop lenders, even if they know someone who is a loan officer. “You may get a better rate and have to put less money down,” noted Rankin. “Personally, I am not a huge fan of online lenders -- those you can’t walk into a building and talk to.”

No. 3: Know what you can afford. Rankin advises not being “House rich and cash poor,” and to keep enough in one’s savings to still enjoy life and not be bogged down with house payments. “This most likely won’t be the last house you purchase, so make it easy and comfortable,” stated Rankin. “Depending on the loan program you choose, you may be able to refinance your loan very soon, should rates drop. Some loans require a 2-year waiting period, so ask your loan officer.”

No. 4: Choose a down-payment that works best for you. Keep in mind that you might only be in this first home for 5 years. If you have the money for a 20% down-payment (which is a typical conventional loan amount), then do that. That means you have 20% equity. “If you don’t, then there are many other options for the amount you put down, all the way down to almost 0%,” added Rankin.

VA (almost 0%), FHA (3.5%), Insured Conventional (less than 20%), and even some conventional loans are less than 20%, but might come with a higher interest rate.
Down-payment assistance programs -- income dependent, but there are many available.
Gifts from family or friends -- there are loans which allow you to get a gift from your parents or others, so ask your loan officer if you have someone willing to do this.

No. 5: Choosing the wrong home. “Don’t choose the home over the neighborhood,” said Rankin. “Choosing the right neighborhood or an area that is up-and-coming will help you gain equity sooner.”

No. 6: Take your time. Don’t jump at the first home you look at, unless you and your Realtor have done extensive research. Make sure you are comfortable with the decision on the home you choose. “There are plenty out there, regardless of what you hear in the media,” exclaimed Rankin.

No. 7: Choose the right Realtor. “If you are not comfortable with the Realtor you are working with, part ways and find someone else,” concluded Rankin. “The right Realtor will be there to help you down the road when you are ready to sell and buy a bigger home.”

About Terry Rankin, Century 21 Scheetz
Terry Rankin works with both buyers and sellers. He specializes in first-time home buyers and investors, new construction and development, urban and in-fill properties, commercial and industrial properties, rugby player and coach relocation, estate properties, waterfront and golf course properties, and vacant land. Terry is a Quality Service Pinnacle Producer and recipient of numerous sales awards. For more information, please call (317) 507-4250, or visit http://www.terryrankin.com.

For media inquiries, please call THE NALA at 805.650.6121, ext. 361.

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