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Today's News and Features

First Time Buyers: What NOT to Do

Monday, January 13, 2020

By John Voket If this is going to be the year you break out into your own place, you likely want to be sure your path is as clear as possible. First and foremost, buying one's first home is one of the most exciting - and challenging - life experiences. 

To come out ahead, don't make any of the common mistakes that could put your home-buying experience in peril. The U.S. Farm Bureau (fbfs.com) advises first-timers against doing any of the following leading up to or during your closing:

Don’t Open New Lines of Credit. Taking on new debt, no matter how small, could throw off your debt-to-income ratio — a magic number in mortgage lending — and disqualify you.

Don’t Miss Bill Payments. In the stress of preparing to buy a house, it’s easy to miss a payment, but it could have serious consequences that will make you ineligible for a loan from certain lenders for at least a year, the bureau says.

Don’t Change Jobs. During the mortgage loan process, change — even good change — could set you back. Avoid a change in job status that will cause a lender to question your financial stability.

Thecollegeinvestor.com warns that too much of a good thing can be bad, so just because a bank will lend you a certain amount of money doesn’t mean you should take it unless you want to be house poor. 

The site says you need to think about the other expenses that come along with a house, like insurance, property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and home improvements beyond your monthly mortgage commitment.

Finally, esurance.com blogger Jiordan strongly advises getting a thorough home inspection done. She says a professional will ensure the foundation is solid, the wiring is up to code - even check for lead paint and wood-eating pests.

If you know before you buy, the esurance blogger says it could help you negotiate a lower price - and prepare you for any repair costs you might be facing.

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