So the time has come—you’re ready to start your homebuying search, and you discover there are several steps in the process. Where should you even begin? Luckily South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) has the tools you need to make first-time homebuying a positive experience.
So what are the key tips and tricks for a first-timer?
South Dakotans are in luck. There are plenty of ways to stay on track for a great first-time buy, from asking the right questions, to budgeting for a mortgage payment, to gathering the right documents.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Ask questions
This is the No. 1 tip for a reason—asking questions of your real estate agent and your inspector is key in your home search. You shouldn’t settle on a house until you know it’s shortcomings and whether they are important or not so much.
2. Solidify your budget
As a first-time homebuyer, you’ve likely experienced life as a renter. Paying for a mortgage can be quite similar to paying your monthly rent, but there are some budgetary things you should think about (i.e., insurance, taxes, etc.). Make sure your budget is solidly considered before you take the plunge.
3. Consider your options
Though you might have your ideal, single-family home dreamt up in your head, there might actually be other options to fit your needs, such as a townhome or a duplex. Consider the full depth of your options. (Here are some other first-home things to know.)
4. Minding your wallet
Particularly when you’re gathering pre-approvals from lenders, making costly purchases on credit cards is never a good idea during this time period. Keep your spending in check until you’ve finished closing. (And keep in mind these other common first-time homebuyer mistakes.)
5. Gather the papers
There are several key materials you’ll need to supply your lender at some point in your buying process. So knowing what to expect and what to gather—namely, W-2s, bank statements and tax docs—can save time later. Check out other tips for first-time homebuying like a second-time homebuyer.
6. Verify your credit
Your credit score plays a major role in lending decisions—that’s why ensuring your score is accurate is critical to getting the amount you deserve. Luckily, you can dispute errors in your report. Here are a few other commonly forgotten tactics for first-timers.
7. Keep tabs
If you’re already on the hunt, you’ll likely know that homes in South Dakota are moving quickly these days. That’s why it’s a good idea to set a daily reminder to check listings before they get snatched up—pick a perfect time of day, and set a recurring alert on your phone.
8. Learn some things
If you feel like you don’t know how to “speak mortgage” or need a crash course in first-time homebuying, you’re not alone. In fact, there are plenty of FREE South Dakota-based educational opportunities for brushing up on buying skills. Check one of them out.
9. Get assistance
South Dakotans with financial restrictions need not set aside their dream of owning a home—the First-Time Homebuyer’s Program through SDHDA offers low-interest mortgage loans to those who meet income requirements. Learn your options.
10. Build your own
If you want to lay the groundwork for a new home in your future, SDHDA’s First-Time Homebuyer Program can be used to finance existing homes or new construction. SDHDA also offers the Governor’s House program, which assists South Dakotans with high-quality, low-cost, energy-efficient homes. Contact your local Governor’s House rep.
Want more information on first-time homebuying?
Download our free e-book, “A South Dakotan’s Guide to Buying Your First Home,” to learn more!
DISCLAIMER: The views of the author are not necessarily those of this station, its owners, officers, agents or employees.