Should I buy or rent?

See Rent Vs. Buy: Pros & Cons

Does my credit impact my ability to buy?

Yes, Mortgage lenders use credit score to decide who receives loans and at what interest rates. The higher the score means the better the chance of getting a loan with an attractive interest rate. See also Free Credit Report.

What are the homeowner’s tax benefits?

See Tax Advantages for Homeowners and Tax Facts You Should Know

Do I need a real estate agent?

When buying a home, it’s strongly recommended you have a Realtor. Keep in mind, all Realtors are not the same! Attempting to buy a home without a Realtor can really make the home buying process more difficult. 
See also Benefits of Using a Buyer’s Agent; How to Find The Right Buyer’s Agent; Selling Agent vs. Listing Agent

How much do I need for a down payment?

Saving for the down payment is the greatest obstacle for first-time home buyers. Lenders expect between 5% to 20% for a down payment. It varies according to the lender’s requirements, and the type and length of the loan.

What are the upfront costs?

When buying a home, most people focus on the price of the house and what interest rate they can get on their mortgage loan.
You will need a Down payment and Closing Costs.

Down payment: most probably will be your biggest expense. Most buyers will need a down payment of at least 5% for Conventional Loans and 3.5% for FHA Loans. There are some loans that don’t require a down payment, such as USDA and VA Loans.

Closing Costs and Prepaid: when buying a homes there are expenses accosted with the home purchase. Plan about 2-3% of the home sale price for Closing Costs and Pre-Paids. See also What are Closing Costs and Pre-Paids.

What is the difference between Pre-qualified and Pre-approval?

Pre-qualification: Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage gives first-time homebuyers an indication of how much they “might” qualify to borrow. This mortgage amount is not guaranteed because no information has yet been verified. A letter from the lender may only state that you are “likely” to be approved for a mortgage.

Pre-approved: Better yet is getting pre-approved for a mortgage, which is based on a real credit score, and it also puts real estate agents and home sellers at ease. The buyer has more to offer when making a deal and in a competitive market this can be a definite plus.

I got pre-approved, can the interest rate change?

Yes, it can go either up or down based on the market mortgage rates. The lender can lock only when you are under contract (seller accepted your offer).

What if I’m already working with an agent?

We can’t help you tour or make an offer if you’re already working with another agent. If you believe your agent is not delivering the value you expect, you can end your relationship with that agent and use another agent. If you signed a buyer’s agency agreement, you must first inform your agent in writing of your decision. Please read that agreement carefully to ensure there are no other obligations to the agent following termination.