Your home is one of the most important purchases you’ll make. However, the process of buying a home can feel overwhelming and confusing – especially if you’ve never done it before. Here at People’s, we want to help you feel confident and comfortable when buying your home. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips for first-time home buyers to help the process go as smoothly as possible:

Build and Maintain Your Credit

A healthy credit score plays a big role in helping you qualify for mortgages. Improving your credit prior to purchasing a home may also help you find better interest rates, which could save you a considerable amount of money in the long run. If you are planning to buy a house in the near future, it may also be a good idea to hold off on applying for new lines of credit, as doing so could temporarily lower your score.

Save for a Down Payment & Closing Costs

Prior to shopping for your new home, it’s important that you’re fully prepared to handle any up-front costs associated with purchasing a house. The two biggest expenses you should expect to handle are the down payment and closing costs, which can amount to several thousand dollars each.

While it can feel daunting to save enough money to cover all of these fees, there are a few resources that you may be able to take advantage of when buying your first house. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a variety of resources available, from housing counseling to down payment assistance grants and programs.

Get Pre-Approval

Pre-approval can make the process of buying a home much faster and easier. It’s important to note that pre-approval is different from pre-qualification; while pre-qualification is an estimate of how large a home loan you can afford, pre-approval is a document from your lender that states exactly the amount you are approved to borrow.

Though it can take more time and effort to get a pre-approval, doing so will show you exactly what you can afford. Not only does this prevent unexpected surprises, but it also allows you to make stronger offers while shopping around.

Work With a Real Estate Agent

Shopping for a home on your own can be a serious challenge, and the last thing you want is to make a mistake that could cost you thousands of dollars – or your dream home altogether. That’s where a real estate agent can help. They will be able to show you properties that fit your needs and budgets, and they can offer excellent insight on how to submit strong offers. A good real estate agent can also help with negotiations and closing processes, so you don’t have to worry about navigating it all alone.

Keep it Local

The housing market can vary widely from community to community, which is why it’s best to work with local experts who have experience working where you are hoping to move. A local lender will know the market in your area and can provide you with a personalized experience that is tailored to you.

If you are looking for an experienced lender in the Vancouver WA area, turn to People’s Community Federal Credit Union! We offer a variety of mortgage products to meet your needs, and we strive to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Vancouver WA

5 Local Branches Serving Greater Vancouver WA:

Vancouver Waterfront | Fishers Landing | Hazel Dell | Battle Ground | Ridgefield | Salmon Creek | Orchards | Minnehaha | Walnut Grove | Hockinson | Baker | Sara | Felida | Cascade Park East