First Time Home Buyers

The Ultimate Guide for

First Time Home Buyers in Fort Worth

You've done some research, checked your finances, and made the decision: it's time to buy your first home. Congratulations! This is an exciting time for so many reasons. Buying a home is a solid financial decision, one that can improve your overall quality of life and give you peace of mind. It's also an excellent way to improve your credit score and feel more connected to the community you live in.

If you're ready to buy your first home, but are unsure of where to start, don't worry! We're here to help. Consider this page your go-to guide for buying your first home in Fort Worth. Here, you'll learn all about mortgages, the home-buying process, costs associated with closing, and more! Here's everything you need to know about buying your very first home.

How to Get Started

By doing research (like reading this page) you've already begun the home-buying process. Research is an important first step to understanding the intricacies of buying your own home.

Here are three things you need to do to put yourself on the path to homeownership:

1. Check Your Credit Score

Credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will assign you a credit score based on your financial history. Credit scores fall within one of three categories: Fair, Good, and Excellent. The higher your credit score, the more money you're likely to be offered as a mortgage from a home lender.

2. Review Your Finances

  • Check your financial history
  • Pay off any outstanding debts that you can
  • Take steps to improve your credit score
  • Make sure you have enough money saved for a down payment.

3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

This is an important step to being a more qualified home buyer in today's market. It's also an excellent way to set your budget.

The pre-approval process involves sitting down with a lender to review your finances. They will take into account every part of your financial portfolio, including your debts, credit report, annual income, and savings, to determine how much money the bank is able to lend you.

A Brief Guide to Mortgages

For the majority of home buyers, there are four basic types of mortgages.

Conventional

Standard loan used by buyers with good to excellent credit who make down payments of at least 10%. Lower payment options are available depending on credit.

FHA

For buyers with lower credit scores with a down payment as low as 3.5% and lower interest rates. Require mortgage insurance premiums, which can increase costs.

VA 

For veterans and active duty military members. Offer up to 100% financing, simplified loan approvals, and lower interest rates. Can be much lower than conventional mortgages.

USDA

Available to buyers in rural or low-density areas with up to 100% financing. Ideal buyers are of average means with lower credit scores looking for modest homes.

What's in a Mortgage, Anyway?

A mortgage is made up of four components:

Principle: This is the price of your home. Every month, you'll pay back a portion of the total amount of money you paid for your home.

Interest: This is the payment to the lender for the money you borrowed. It's added on to the initial price of your home.

Taxes: These depend on your city and county taxes, divided by the number of mortgage payments you make in a year.

Insurance: This is a monthly fee for homeowners insurance, which covers your home against various hazards.

Calculate Your Mortgage Payments!

The Process

Allow us to walk you through the process of buying a home in Fort Worth.

Shop Around for a Lender & Get Pre-Approved

When looking for a mortgage, we recommend speaking with at least two different lenders. You want to make sure you're getting the best value for your mortgage! When it comes to a mortgage, there are two different kinds of interest rates offered by lenders:

Fixed-Rate Mortgage: The interest rate doesn't change over time, meaning your monthly payments will be predictable.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage: The interest rate for an ARM mortgage will be lower at first, but may increase over time as the market fluctuates (meaning your payments will increase as well).

Calculate your monthly budget by getting pre-approved for a mortgage, and then doing some math. Again, here's our mortgage calculator to help you determine your monthly mortgage payments!

Find the Right Agent

You don't have to work with an agent, but an experienced agent will streamline your entire home-buying process and save you time (plus a few headaches!)

Take a look at some of our past client testimonials to get a better idea of how Wilco Realtors will serve you.

Begin Searching for Your Home

Now it's time for the fun part, searching for your home! If you're working with a realtor, let them know exactly what you're looking for and they'll likely provide you with a list of homes that match your needs. In the meantime, feel free to begin searching for homes with our handy home-search tool.

Explore Fort Worth

Browse Local Neighborhoods

Once You've Found It, Make an Offer

You've found the ideal home with everything you need. It's time to make an offer!

This is one part of the home-buying process where having a realtor on your side will save you a lot of time (and more than a few headaches). A realtor will guide you through the offer, home inspection, and closing easily — giving you more time to focus on your upcoming move!

Work closely with your realtor to come up with an offer you're comfortable with. It's important make a realistic offer so that the seller is more likely to accept it — and you're more likely to close on your dream home!

Schedule a Home Inspection

Once the seller accepts your offer, it's crucial to schedule that home inspection. Hire an experienced professional to walk through the home and thoroughly inspect it to ensure there aren't any problems or maintenance issues that may not be visible at first glance. If they find something, you can request that the seller repair any major issues.

Let us know if you need a recommendation for a local inspector. You can also check out our business directory for local service providers that we trust.

Close!

Go Over Your Contract

Carefully and thoroughly review your contract with your agent or lawyer. Make sure there are contingencies, so if something falls through with your mortgage you're not obligated to buy the home.

Finalize Your Mortgage

Submit your mortgage application with your lender. Work closely with them to have your new home appraised and review closing costs. These fees often include attorney fees, title insurance, appraisal fees, home inspection fees, courier fees, government recording fees, and taxes.

Close

You've signed all the paperwork, paid your down payment and closing costs, and now it's time to close! The keys are yours and so is your new home. Congratulations!

An Overview of Related Costs

When you make an offer on a home, here's what you'll pay upfront:

Earnest Money

This is like a security deposit. When you submit an offer on a home, you pay this to show the seller that you're serious. Once the offer is accepted, it's applied towards your down payment or closing costs.

Down Payment

This is determined by your mortgage type, and your lender. It can also be affected by any governmental programs or assistance you've requested. A conventional down payment is at least 10% of the overall cost.

Closing Costs

Typically, these are pretty low for buyers. They're mainly associated with costs relating to the paperwork and lender charges.

Let's Connect

If you're a new home buyer in Fort Worth, we should talk. Allow us to leverage our in-depth real estate experience here to guide you to closing with a smile. Please give us a call today to get started.

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