HOMEOWNERSHIP TIPS. In honor of June Homeownership month in Illinois, we posted daily tips. For your benefit, we have consolidated the list here.

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1 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIPS In honor of June Homeownership month in Illinois, we posted daily tips. For your benefit, we have consolidated the list here. The home buying process might seem complicated or unmanageable. But knowing all the key parts to buying a home will help you plan for challenges and avoid mistakes. We hope these tips increase your knowledge and help guide you with buying a home!

2 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #1 Attend homebuyer counseling. You can find good information on buying a home from trusted websites, family and friends, but nothing is better than speaking with an expert. Attending a homebuyer counseling course will help you understand the complexities of buying a home, and will prepare you for the responsibilities of homeownership. Classes are free. Find a HUD approved Housing Counselling Agency here.

3 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #2 Know what you can afford. There are several factors that lenders take into consideration when determining how much they will lend to you for your home purchase. The three most important factors are you income, debts and down payment. Learn more ways to increase your purchasing power here.

4 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #3 Don t buy if you can t stay put. If you can t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it s an even worse proposition.

5 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #4 Shoring up your credit. Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover. Obtain a copy of your credit report by visiting or one of the three credit bureaus

6 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #5 Aim for a home you can really afford. The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about twoand-one-half times your annual salary. But you ll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.

7 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #6 Can't put down 20%? You may still qualify for a loan. It s important to know that putting down 20% is not a requirement to qualify for a loan. There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a small down payment. In fact, with IHDA loans, a borrower can secure up to 105% financing if structured correctly for certain lending situations. In essence, the borrower can purchase a home for 1% total investment. For example, a buyer can purchase a $200,000 home for as little as $2,000 total cash investment. The IHDA network of qualified lenders can help you with your particular situation.

8 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #7 Buy in a district with good schools. In most areas, this advice applies even if you don't have school-age children. Reason - when it comes time to sell, you'll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values

9 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #8 Get professional help. Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent. Look for an exclusive buyer agent, if possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process. Don t wait start now! You can find an Illinois Realtor here. When you re ready to secure a loan, be sure to work with an IHDA approved lender.

10 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #9 Choose carefully between points and rate. When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points -- a portion of the interest that you pay at closing -- in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time -- say three to five years or more -- it's usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run. When looking at rates, be sure to look at Welcome Home Illinois first. Welcome Home Illinois offers a below market interest rate for a 30- year fixed-rate mortgage. So when you re ready to secure a loan, be sure to work with an IHDA approved lender.

11 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #10 Before house hunting, get pre-approved. Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with prequalification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, preapproval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

12 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #11 Use an IHDA approved lender for your home loan. IHDA finances the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout the State of Illinois to increase the supply of decent and safe places for people of low or moderate means to live. Let our network of qualified lenders guide you through the quick and easy process of getting a home loan. In this video, see how easy the IHDA loan process can be and how we helped a family achieve the dream of homeownership by purchasing their first home.

13 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #12 Work with an expert--get homeownership counseling. Want advice on buying a home, renting, default, foreclosure avoidance, credit issues or reverse mortgages? HUD sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country to provide free or low cost advice. Housing counselors can help you with home purchases AND provide foreclosure prevention counseling. In this video, see how foreclosure prevention counseling helped a family secure temporary financial assistance in order to keep their home.

14 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #13 Do your homework before bidding. Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that's about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking. An Illinois Realtor can help you gauge sales trends and help prepare you to make an educated bid.

15 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #14 Understand the down payment. The down payment is the initial payment made when buying a home. The amount of your down payment will impact your ability to get a mortgage as well as the loan s interest rate and terms. Remember, putting down 20 percent is not a requirement to qualify for a loan.

16 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #15 Find the right property for you. Once you ve determined your price range, it s time to start looking at houses. Do you have ideas about what you want in your new home? Get that list on paper. Consider the home s interior (number of bedrooms or bathrooms, type of kitchen), amenities (yard, extra playroom, storage space) and size, as well as location and lifestyle, commuting distance and community, schools and services. Whatever you put on the list should be a reflection of you.

17 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #16 Be sure to get a home inspection. What is the value of a home inspection? Though not required by law, a satisfactory home inspection (which will help you understand if there are any hidden problems) is an important part of successfully buying the right home. The inspection examines the condition of the property and identifies necessary repairs and potential problems before you buy the home. The inspection generally costs a few hundred dollars, and is paid for by the buyer.

18 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #17 Making an offer on a home. You ve found a home that meets your wants, needs and budget. It s time to make an offer. The offer is a legally binding commitment sating that you will buy the property for an agreed-upon price provided certain terms and conditions are met. An accepted offer to purchase real estate must be in writing and signed by both parties. You don t need to prepare the offer alone. If you are working with a Realtor or an attorney, they can help you with this process.

19 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #18 Finalize your mortgage loan application. After the purchase agreement is sent to your lender, they will finish processing your loan application and have the property appraised to make sure it is worth the amount you want to pay for it. Your lender will help you through this process. Our IHDA network of qualified lenders will guide you through the loan application process from start to finish.

20 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #19 Close on your home loan. Closing is a meeting to sign paperwork and transfer title of the home from the seller to you. To ensure your closing goes smoothly, be sure to ask questions. A week before closing, talk to the people who are representing you, like your Realtor and your loan officer, and tell them you'd like to spend a couple of minutes to discuss what to expect. Try to review your loan documents in advance. It is a helpful way to ensure all is going as planned and you don t receive any surprises. You can ask your lender that you want to review the documents before closing, or ask your attorney to do so.

21 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIP #20 Moving in! You have the keys to your home. What now? If you have access to your new place a day or so before the moving van is scheduled to arrive, take that time to get a few things done while your home is still empty. Give it a deep clean. Cleaning the floors, baseboards and windows will never be this easy again - you'll have unhindered access to everything. Think about it - no curtains to take down, no rugs or furniture to move. If possible, hire a cleaning service to help you get it all done. Also, now is a great time to make any stylistic changes like putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls or sanding/staining floors if you have hardwood. Once finished and everything has been moved in - take a nap! Those boxes aren't going anywhere. By getting an adequate amount of sleep you'll be ready and able to get started on whatever you need to do the next day.

22 HOMEOWNERSHIP TIPS For more helpful tips on what you should know before buying a home and to learn more about Welcome Home Illinois home loan program, visit the Homebuyer Education page on the Welcome Home Illinois website. While there be sure to sign up for our IHDA newsletter to stay on top of all of our program news.

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