First Time Home Buyer FAQ\'s

Posted by Jace Stolfo on Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 at 6:09pm.

How much does it cost to work with a Realtor?

Working with most Realtors as a buyer is completely free!  How is that? Well, when a seller lists their home with an agent they usually pay a commission to the listing agent and the listing agent offers a portion of that to the buyer agents in the area. 

How much of a down payment do I need?

It depends on the loan program but there are many where you don’t need any down payment.  If this is your first home you will want to make sure you talk to a lender who works with IHFA loans.  These are government loans offering 100% financing at discounted rates, down payment assistance, or closing cost assistance.

How much house can I afford?

When people begin thinking about how much of a house payment they can afford they often only consider the principle and interest payment.   But there are other homeownership costs to consider such as: Property Taxes, Insurance, Mortgage Insurance, HOA Dues, etc.  But REMEMBER!  All the interest you pay you can deduct from you income taxes.  So if you are comparing homeownership to renting you have to account for that.

How much money do I need to pay for all my closing costs?

Closing costs come from lender fee’s, title company fees, and pre-paid items like taxes and insurance when you buy or sell a home.  Typically closing costs for a buyer are $4,000 to $6,000.  Often when I work with first-time homebuyers I will negotiate to get the seller to pay for these.

How long does the home buying process take?

Once you find the house you want to buy the closing process generally takes 3-4 weeks.  As the buyer, you usually have more negotiating power if you can offer a quick closing. 

What is a home-owners exemption?

If your home in Idaho is your primary residence you can reduce the taxable value of your property up to a maximum of $100,938 in 2008 (or 50%).  So if the assessor values your home at $250,000 your taxable value would be $149,062.  The levy would be about 1.1% equaling: $1639.68/year.

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