Ohio families have turned to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) since 1983 to provide the tools, education and services that make successful homeownership possible. As the state's housing agency, OHFA has helped nearly 150,000 families open the doors to an affordable place to call home.
OHFA recognizes the value of homeownership, its benefits to Ohioans and to our communities. Let us help make your dream of homeownership a reality.
10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
As a trusted leader in the affordable housing industry for over 30 years, here are some tips to make your purchasing experience easier:
Establish a budget and save money. Having a monthly budget will help you identify your expenses and how much you can afford for a mortgage payment. The general rule of thumb is that you can reasonably afford a home that costs approximately two-and-one half times your annual salary. There are plenty of calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.
Be mindful that you will need money for a down payment, closing costs and the various other fees associated with buying a home. Begin saving as soon as you can. If you cannot put down the traditional 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan. There are a variety of lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a down payment as small as three percent of the purchase price.
Avoid major purchases and unnecessary spending. Keep in mind that once you decide to buy a home you should avoid making any major purchases until after closing is complete. Purchases such as buying a car or furniture, or missing a bill payment could cause a pre-approved loan to be denied.
Know your credit score. To qualify for a mortgage and avoid higher rates, you will need to have a good credit score. Paying your bills on time and in full will help improve and maintain your credit. It's a good idea to obtain copies of your credit report, make sure the information is correct and fix any problems that you discover before meeting with a mortgage lender.
Get professional help from a real estate agent. Having an expert guide you through the process of buying your new home can reduce some of the stress associated with being a first-time homebuyer. Interview several real estate agents to find the one who will best represent your needs. If you have questions about an agent or how to locate one, contact the Ohio Department of Commerce's Division of Real Estate.
Receive pre-approval for a loan. Working with a reputable lender can make the home buying process much easier. OHFA has a network of lenders around the state that are ready to meet with you to discuss mortgage options. Find a participating lender near you. Once you obtain pre-approval from a lender, you will have a better understanding of how much you can spend when purchasing a home.
Finding the right home. Knowing what type of home you want is just the first step. You may want to consider the location of your new home compared to your workplace or preferred school district. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the home, as well as other amenities you find necessary can help a real estate agent narrow your search to find something that meets your needs.
Complete Homebuyer Education. Buying a home is a tremendous commitment. Homebuyer education courses can help you learn about the responsibilities of homeownership before you actually make your purchase. By working with a housing counselor, you can determine what you need for a monthly budget, learn how the home buying process works and understand important terms you need to know for the closing. To locate a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved counselor in your area click here.
Make an offer. Once you have decided on the home you want, it is time to make an offer. Remember to include language that states the offer is contingent on a home inspection. Your opening offer should be based on the recent sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. Before making an offer, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at five percent less than the asking price, you should offer about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.
Hire a Home Inspector. Sometimes the home may look perfect, but there are usually issues that you cannot see. It is very important to have a professional inspection of the property to help you understand the condition of the property and identify any potential problem areas.
Closing on your home. Ask questions and read all the documents you will sign at closing so you know exactly what you are agreeing to with the home purchase. Remember, you have the right to request and review all closing documents before the actual closing.
Buying a Home by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
OHFA's Comprehensive Homebuyer Guide walks you through the entire process and helps you understand the home buying process. Learn more about the First-Time Homebuyer Program, down payment assistance options and other programs that will help unlock the door to your new home.
Are you ready to open the door to a home of your own? OHFA's homeownership loan programs can help. If you are a first-time buyer or buying in a target area, OHFA and our lending partners may have a program that's right for you.
Media Contact: Molly Moses, Director of Communications and Marketing, 614.728.2911, 614.557.3924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.