title:Frequently Asked Questions about Buying Your First Home

author:Damon Thomas
source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_1780.shtml
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:13
category:home_improvement
article:

The idea of buying a new home for the first time can be overwhelming for most people. It is probably the largest investment they have ever made, and the process itself seems downright intimidating. Here are answers to a few questions about homeownership from www.casanuevahouston.com and www.casanuevasanantonio.com. Much more information is offered online at these websites.
How do I know how much I can afford?
Most people like to think of it in terms of their monthly payment. A good rule-of-thumb is that your total monthly payment will be about 1% of the purchase price. If a new home costs $100,000, the total monthly payment will be about $1,000.
What kind of down payment is needed? How much money is needed for closing costs?
With 100% financing, which is often available, you typically need about 3% out of your own pocket for various closing cost such as taxes and insurance. So, for a $100,000 loan that is 100% financed, you would need about $3,000 total cash. There are also home buyer assistance programs that can provide down payment grants to qualified applicants.
How much income do I need?
Lenders look at the overall debt-to-income ratio. They like to see that your monthly housing payment, plus everything on your credit report (including car payment, credit cards, etc.), is not more than 50% of your total gross monthly income (before taxes).
If you want to buy a $100,000 home, the monthly payment will be $1,000. Suppose you also pay another $500 each month in other bills that are on your credit report. That?s a monthly debt of $1,500. You would need to earn about twice that, or $3,000 a month, to qualify for the home loan, typically.
What type of credit do I need to have?
For an FHA loan, which is very popular, buyers generally need to have clean credit for the past 12 months, meaning that payments have been made on time. Many lenders don?t worry about credit problems that took place in the past, as long as the past year is good and clean.
What if I don?t have other loans or credit cards?
The FHA and other lenders are very willing to consider what they call ?alternate lines of credit.? That is, any type of payment history that shows that the buyer is able to make regular payments on time. These can include items such as rent, utilities, telephone, car insurance and child-care payments. If a buyer can show clean, 12-month payment histories for at least 3 of these types of alternate lines of credit, that is generally good enough.
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