In the market for your first home? Exciting! And, well, a bit stressful. We get it. First time homebuyers in Sacramento have a lot of options, and jumping in feet first may lead to a few expensive mistakes.
At California Family Homebuyers, we know a thing or two (or fifty) about buying properties in Sacramento. If you’re about to purchase your first home — we can help. Here are some pointers for securing your first home without spending too much, missing the boat on important resources, or picking the wrong agent.
Educate Yourself Before You Buy
The first thing to know about being a first time homebuyer is you don’t know everything. And given that buying home involves a stack of papers a few inches high — you need to educate yourself before you start signing. Thankfully, Sacramento has some great resources for people who are purchasing their first home. Look into these programs before you make an offer!
- NeighborWorks — This Sacramento organization has two home buyer education programs. They will help you understand the role of a real estate agent, the steps involved with buying a home, and more. There is a small fee for the courses, but they will help you start off the home buying process with a lot more knowledge.
- eHome America — This online course lets you learn at your convenience from home. Prepare for the costs of home ownership, learn about financial management, and get other helpful tips.
Find Sacramento Resources for First Time Buyers
Buying your first home can be financially difficult because you don’t have the profits from a previous home sale to work with. This creates a barrier to home ownership for a lot of people in Sacramento. The good news is there are financial aid programs specifically for first time home buyers. These programs help Sacramento residents who are in the market for their first property come up with the cash to buy.
- CalHFA — If you are low to moderate income in Sacramento, this program offers a junior loan for your down payment on a first home. While you’ll have to pay the money back (it’s not a grant), if you’re short on a down payment, the program could come in handy. Pre-qualified candidates are required to attend a first time home buyer education course.
- Sacramento Mortgage Credit Certificate — This program for first time buyers offers aid in the form of a tax credit. This means you’ll get “a tax credit of 20% of the annual mortgage interest paid” for the life of the original loan. Just know your credit can’t exceed your total tax liability after your other deductions and credits are taken into account.
Set Realistic Expectations
As a first time homebuyer, you may not get your dream home. Many first time buyers are disappointed to learn that the home they want is not within their price range or in their dream neighborhood. Here are some things to prioritize instead of searching out your forever home in your first property:
- Look for a home in a growing neighborhood. You can grow equity quickly in an expanding neighborhood, which could allow you to sell and upgrade within five years in some cases.
- Work with the right agent. Your friend’s sister who just got her license may not be the best agent for your needs. As a first time buyer, you might need an agent who specializes in condos or fixer upper properties with potential. You’re paying about 2-3% commission to an agent in most cases when you buy — so don’t get sucked in by a real estate agent with the flashiest website. Look for substance and experience.
- Develop patience when home searching. Be prepared for bidding wars and having to pay over asking prices to secure a property. As you’ll also learn, choosing to buy a property in short sale or foreclosure status to save a few bucks will also extend the process.
California Family Homebuyers are experts in buying all sorts of properties in Sacramento and the surrounding area. If you’re trying to sell the first home you bought, we may be able to help. We can close as quickly as seven days! Give us a call today if you’re trying to sell and don’t want to use an agent.