Southern Arizona First-Time Home Buyers
It’s not uncommon for Arizona first-time home buyers to say, “just last week I called you about buying a home and now I’m in escrow, how did this happen so fast?” The answer is it didn’t. First-time home buyers start the Arizona home search long before most even realize it. Here’s what you can expect from your home shopping experience.
“You should buy a home.” That’s what you’ve been hearing from friends and family, right? So, by now you have likely already weighed the benefits and decided that Arizona home ownership was the best decision for you. That’s a major hurdle now passed. You are focused. Good.
If you are looking to make the move from a rented property to an Arizona home of your own, you are not alone. The convergence of low Arizona house prices, still-low interest rates and appealing tax incentives makes this year a good time to buy an Arizona home for many people:
1. Arizona home prices are low. That means discerning first-time Arizona home buyers can find real bargains.
2. Arizona interest rates are still low.
3. Credit scores matter. While Arizona houses are widely available, financing is usually limited to those with good credit. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with the median U.S. credit score about 725. A score below 680 usually results in a higher interest rate. If your score is low, we have excellent credit counselors through our MyOwnArizona mortgage lending network.
4. A home mortgage down payment is essential today. Again, talk to our MyOwnArizona mortgage lender network about your options.
5. Do not stretch too far. Standard guidelines call for keeping housing expenses below 35 percent of total income. Breathing room in your budget will help you keep your Arizona home even if something unplanned does occur.
6. Understand private mortgage insurance (PMI). Mortgages with less than 20 percent equity (which means a 20 percent down payment for those purchasing a home) require PMI in case the owner defaults on the loan. When the Arizona home owner pays a conventional mortgage down to 80 percent or less of the Arizona home’s value, the home owner can request the lender to cancel the PMI and then be able to stop paying the additional amount. PMI is tax-deductible, as of 2010.
7. Know the real costs of buying your first-time Arizona home. The principal and interest on a mortgage payment are only the beginning of Arizona home-related costs. Escrow payments – the funds withdrawn to cover Arizona home insurance and taxes – and PMI can add a few hundred dollars per month to a mortgage payment. In addition, Arizona home owners must pay for repairs and maintenance. A rule of thumb is to budget 1 percent of the Arizona home’s purchase price per year for upkeep.
8. Know whether you can pay off early. If the mortgage has a prepayment penalty, borrowers face hefty charges if they pay it off early. This provision also can apply to future refinancing, so be careful.
9. First-time Arizona home buyer beware. Some of the lowest prices on homes today are “fixer-uppers” or homes sold “as is” because of foreclosure. Invest in a Arizona home inspection (typically costing under $500) before agreeing to purchase any Arizona home. The inspection will inform you of any faults in the first-time Arizona home and help you determine the approximate cost to remedy those problems.
For many Americans, the time is right to take advantage of today’s excellent first-time Arizona home buying opportunities. If you are among them, shop carefully and enjoy the journey to Arizona home ownership. MyOwnArizona™ agents are very patient and can answer any of your concerns. First-time Arizona home ownership is an exciting part of life! Contact MyOwnArizona™ by email or you can call or text (520) 222-6929 and we will be more than happy to answer any specific questions you may have.