Maria's Seven Tips for the Savvy Homebuyer

Alaska Housing Outreach Specialist and instructor of HomeChoice™, Maria Celli, shares her top seven tips for savvy homebuyers.

1. Credit is king!

To obtain a mortgage loan for the purchase of a home, a homebuyer must meet credit score requirements. A good initial step is to get a free credit report through before going to a lender.

2. Purchasing a home is a long-term commitment 

Plan on living in a new home for more than a few years. The transaction costs of buying and selling a home far exceed that of renting and a short-term homeowner may run the risk of losing money. 

3. Consider an affordable home

A lender may disclose the monthly mortgage payment that a borrower qualifies for but it is up to the borrower to decide if it is affordable. Costs of the monthly house payment normally include the mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, utilities and other costs such as care and maintenance of the home. 

4. Shop around for a lender

Shopping around for the best financing deal allows the homebuyer to compare interest rates, annual percentage rates, fees and down payment options with several lenders. Homebuyers should look for a lender who offers good customer service and who will answer questions timely and in layman’s terms. 

5. Find a real estate professional

A real estate licensee or realtor helps to locate and show homes within the buyer’s appropriate price range. Once the right home is found, the real estate professional helps negotiate the purchase. A good realtor will help the homebuyer navigate the entire process and alert the buyer of any possible pitfalls throughout the home buying journey. 

6. Ask questions… a lot of questions!

To avoid buyer’s remorse, a consumer must make an informed decision. 

7. Don’t get sold! Get educated!

Get educated before jumping in. HomeChoice™ is a free, eight-hour homebuyer education class that is open to the public. The HomeChoice™ course covers everything from financing options and credit scores to home inspections and home purchase tips.