Expert Advice for First-Time Home Buyers!
If your income is stable and you find the right home in the right location with the right financing — at ridiculously low interest rates — buying a home might be a wise choice, right now! For many people who have been waiting to be able to afford a house payment, those rates plus down payment assistance programs are making homeownership an attainable goal.
Homeownership can help build a family’s wealth, according to the Urban Institute. And a 2019 survey revealed that the down payment help available now, is making it possible for hundreds of families to get into their first home.
And while the process of building a brand new home might seem daunting or out of reach to the first-time home buyer, it’s not. In communities like Crystal Valley, builders’ experienced sales associates, preferred lenders, interior designers and project managers help guide ALL buyers through that process.
Your First Home Purchase
What’s the first thing a first-time home buyer should do when shopping for a new home?
It probably goes without saying but you need to know exactly how much house you can afford – especially if the COVID crisis affected your income. But even before March 2020, getting pre-approved for a loan by a lender BEFORE searching for the home of your dreams, was a wise starting point. Because looking at homes before you know your limits could result in being unpleasantly surprised or disappointed, whether you’re looking at new homes or resale.
Use this home affordability calculator to find out how much you can safely spend on a mortgage every month. The COVID lockdown and all the relief programs may have slowed the process of mortgage loan preapprovals, but the sooner you’re able to act on your desire to buy, the better.
Finding and Selecting a Lender
While the builders in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley have preferred lenders, you can shop around and find your own. Whatever you choose to do, here are five questions to ask potential mortgage lenders as you look for the best rates and terms. And if you want to educate yourself further and fine tune your list, check out this book of 100 Questions Every First Time Home Buyer Should Ask, with advice from one of the most trusted names in real estate, Ilyce Glink.
Glink digs into the details – from wish list to closing and every stage of home-buying in between, weaving in the advice of brokers and illustrating with happy endings.
Help with Down Payments and Rates
First-time home buyers can get a conventional home loan with as little as 3 percent down, if the mortgage meets requirements set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Most lenders require a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage, but a score around 740 earns you the best interest rates. Check your score before you start shopping around for a lender – and dispute any errors that could be affecting your score. If you need help, there are lots of lenders who can help you clean up your credit.
Recent economic relief reforms announced by the government are extremely helpful for home buyers. Many state housing authorities combine down payment grants — or no-down-payment mortgages — with satisfactory interest rates and even federal tax breaks. Check out Colorado’s programs for the mortgage to suit you best, and Nerd Wallet’s 2020 lender recommendations for first-time home buyers.
These first-time home buyer assistance programs increase buyers’ chances of owning homes in particular geographic areas. These programs also help borrowers in certain professions, such as educators, first responders, or active-duty military and veterans. And please note that even if you qualify for a program, you need to make sure your lender will accept down payment assistance funds toward your purchase. Not all lenders do.
Location, Location, Location
What does that mean, really? Well lots of things. From the quality of the neighborhood – the available amenities, organized activities and how well the developer maintains the structures — to access and its proximity to the things you like to do and places you want and need to go. The quality of the school system is important, as are nearby commercial development and recreational opportunities. Location is still the biggest factor when buying a home and important to consider all these implications.
The developer of Crystal Valley, one of the top master-planned communities in the state, and city planners of Castle Rock have worked together to manage growth. Thanks to its 265 acres of parks, 44 miles of trails a historic downtown and the largest open-air outlet mall in Colorado, the town is one of the fastest-growing in the nation. They have taken great pains to establish and maintain open spaces as well as Castle Rock’s small-town feel. And the Douglas County Schools employ some of the best and most dedicated teachers in Colorado.
World-class amenities add great value to the worth of your property and in Crystal Valley the Pinnacle community center promotes convenience and recreation with a fitness facility, swimming pool, state-of-the-art park for kids with climbing walls and super slides, plus sports fields and basketball courts for all ages. The dog park is a huge attraction for pet owners, and the rec center and swimming pool – run by the local arm of the Denver YMCA, hosts activities with input from the HOA and residents to offer things to do within minutes of your own front door.
First-Time Home Buyers: Welcome TO Crystal Valley!
Each of the four builders who design and build the new homes in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley have preferred lenders that offer incentives for home buyers. There’s literally never been a better time to buy a new home set in natural surroundings in the fast-growing Castle Rock community. Floor plans and elevations vary from Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton. You can visit these homes virtually or in person and choose from ranch or two-story models — priced from the $300s.