Seven Secrets for First-Time Homebuyers
1. Visit a certified housing counselor at a nonprofit organization.
Housing counselors credentialed through a nonprofit agency provide objective advice and unbiased recommendations.
2. Get your finances in order.
Find out what your credit report and credit score are and correct any inaccuracies. Lenders look at factors called the four Cs of credit: credit history (timely bill paying), capital (money available for a down payment), capacity (income versus debt), and collateral (the value and condition of the house).
3. Look for down-payment and closing-cost assistance programs. Some nonprofit organizations and state or local government agencies can help you with down payment and closing costs through grant money or low-interest loans.
4. Make sure homeownership fits with your lifestyle.
If you will be in a particular community for less than three years, if the local economy is not doing well, if unemployment is rising, or if your future income will not provide you with enough for mortgage payments and other financial responsibilities in owning a home, then renting may provide the better option.
5. Shop around for everything related to your home purchase.
Follow the “rule of threes” by comparing at least three products, professionals or services before making your final selections.
6. Get pre-approved for financing before shopping for a home.
Pre-approval is different from pre-qualification, which refers to when a lender calculates how much mortgage you likely can afford based on unverified information. A preapproval is a guarantee that the lender will loan you a fixed amount of money, as long as the property appraises over the amount for which you are qualified and you buy within a certain time period.
7. Carefully select a location.
Research area schools, property tax rates, insurance rates, and crime statistics. Spend time thinking about things that may be important.
*You can order your credit report and credit score from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian; Equifax; and TransUnion. For more information on credit scoring, visit http://www.myfico.com.
Session One-1/14,1/21,1/28,2/4,2/11 (Tuesdays) 5:30pm-8:30pm
Session Two-3/8,3/15,3/22,3/29 (Saturdays) 9:00am-1:00pm
Session Three-4/8,4/15,4/29,5/6,5/13 (Tuesdays) 5:30pm-8:30pm
Session Four-9/9,9/16,9/23,9/30,10/7 (Tuesdays) 5:30pm-8:30pm
Session Five-10/25,11/1,11/8,11/15 (Saturdays) 9:00am-1:00pm
Light supper or breakfast served at each class!
All TUESDAY EVENING classes held at Metro Interfaith
21 New Street, Binghamton
All SATURDAY MORNING classes held at FirstNiagara Homeownership Center
112-122 State Street, Binghamton
TO REGISTER, Call 722-5415 or 723-0723 or
Per the November/December issue of the “New York State REALTOR” magazine, here is a summary of some top economists outlook for 2014….food for thought!
“What is your outlook on the overall economy going into 2014?”
Chief Economist Lawrence Yun stated, “I expect higher mortgage interest rates…the 30-year fixed rate mortgage…should reach 5% by the middle of the year.” However, that’s still not a bad rate, considering that back in the early 80′s, 30-year fixed rate mortgages topped out between 14%-16%!
Syndicated economics columnist Elliot Eisenberg, a former senior economist for the National Association of Home Builders, commented as follows, “Total housing sales will go up and new home construction activity will be better. It won’t be spectacular, but better than it’s been of late.”
“What are your 2014 housing market forecasts for the nation and New York State, in particular?”
Yun states, “The first-time buyer share (of the market) will likely remain…at 30% of all buyers.”
Eisenberg states, “First-time buyers are to some extent missing in action, and this is a bit of problem…I’m seeing vast increases in sizes of new homes because that market is not being weighed down by first-timers…usually tract homes are built for first-timers. Banks will look at first-timers to gain market share.” Good news for first time homebuyers because 2014 will bring “first time homebuyer friendly” mortgage products to the forefront again. The main challenge for our current “first-timers” is high college debt and low to average credit scores. These challenges will have to be overcome in order for the “first-timer’s” to hit their par market share of 40%.
All the more reason for first time homebuyers to look at the benefits of pre-purchase homeownership education and counseling to prepare them for future homeownership and the opportunity to realize the “American Dream” of owning their own home.
The Academy is pleased to announce its new, state-of-the-art classroom location at the First Niagara Homeownership Center, 112-122 State Street in Binghamton for Saturday classes!!
Final fall 2013 class schedule begins Sat., 10/19 from 9am to 1pm. See details on this page for registration information and full class schedule.
The Binghamton Homeownership Academy and Quaranta Housing Services proudly announce the availability of the next AHC FIRST TIME HOME BUYER GRANT! The grant provides up to $22,500 for down payment/closing costs and repair assistance!
In order to qualify for this grant, individuals must meet the minimum qualifications:
- Good credit
- Savings of at least $2,000
- Completed the academy’s First Time Homebuyer Education Course (next course begins in September – sign up now!)
- A desire and commitment to become a homeowner
- Household income does not exceed 112% of Area Median income
In calculating household income, add up all members of the household (including children), and sum up incomes of all individuals. The numbers below represent maximum amount of income allowed per household (for instance, a couple with two children is a household of four, and their combined incomes must not exceed $52,685):
- 1 member, $36,915 / 2 members, $42,202 / 3 members, $47,488
- 4 members, $52,685 / 5 members, $56,986 / 6 members, $61,197
- 7 members, $65,408 / 8 members, $69,619
The city of Binghamton still has open spots for the $30,000 loan.
- No Payments if you maintain ownership!
- Fully forgiven after 10 years!
- Apply up to $10,000 for closing costs!
- Apply the remainder to housing repairs!
- Targeted specifically for middle income earners!
If you are interested in this please contact Conant Smith at the Binghamton Homeownership Academy for more details!
Academy Hotline- 723-0723
The Binghamton Homeownership Academy hosted its first “First Time Homebuyer Specialist: Preferred Provider Program,” in June 2013, certifying nearly 20 local Realtors as First Time Homebuyer Specialists.
The “pilot course” was very well received by the class, and garnered statewide attention. With many more Realtors expressing interest, the Academy will be hosting this class again in the Fall.
Participants receive NYSAR continuing education credits and are eligible for application to the Binghamton Homeownership Academy’s “Preferred Provider” list, which is distributed to Academy homebuyer graduates.
This is just another facet of the Academy’s comprehensive approach to promoting successful homeownership in the City of Binghamton and greater Broome County, and we congratulate our first class of “Specialists” and thank them for their commitment to serving first time homebuyers with excellence.
The Binghamton Homeownership Academy currently has 3 grants available:
- FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER – City of Binghamton Affordable Housing Program provides first time buyers with deferred loans to assist with down payment and closing costs up to $10,000. After 5 years, the loan is forgiven in full if the buyer stays the occupant of the purchased property.
- FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER – City of Binghamton AHC grant which provides up to $10,000 toward purchase and $20,000 toward rehabilitation costs. This grant program is targeted specifically for middle-income families, so please reach out to BHOA to determine eligibility.
- EXISTING HOMEOWNER – City of Binghamton HOME grant provides deferred renovation loans ( no monthly payments/ no interest) to eligible owner-occupants of single unit homes. The maximum loan amount is $25,000.
For more information on these grants and other housing resources currently being offered by our partner agencies, please call the academy customer service line at 723-0723.
Thinking of purchasing in Chenango County?
Quaranta Housing Servics, a BHOA partner agency, now has a grant availible which provides $20,500 toward down payment and closing cost assistance. Please feel free to reach out directly to this partner agency at 607-336-2101 Ext 128 if you are interested in purchasing your first home in Chenango County.