First-Time Homebuyers

In today's harsh economic world, there's a lot of upheaval going on. You still can't turn on the news or read a paper without learning more details of the economic crisis – banks unwilling to issue credit, credit card limits being adjusted, the stock market in turmoil, people stuck with ballooning mortgages in homes they can't sell.

So now it's even more important than ever to really think through your housing options. To weigh the pros and cons and make sure that you're living in a place that's right for you – that's priced affordably and fits your lifestyle for the next 3-5 years. First-time homebuyers looking for a starter home often find that townhomes provide the best balance of size and cost.

When deciding to buy a house or property, be realistic. You should be able to ‘afford' to spend a little more money on a house than you do on rent – because you'll be building equity and your future with each payment, not giving it all away to your landlord. But you want to make sure your monthly payments fit within your budget.

Many loan companies, even in today's tight economic times, will approve people for high loan values, but remember – you don't have to use the entire amount you're approved for! It's a good idea to find out what the bank thinks you can afford – and then look for a house priced quite a bit lower than that! You can get into a house you love without stressing your budget.

Also, while many people focus on traditional single family homes in their search, there are a number of low-maintenance alternatives, such as condominiums and townhouses. No or minimal yard work can really save a homeowner time and money!

Don't let today's economic climate stop you from realizing your dreams to buy your own place. If you're ready to move out of a cramped apartment and into your own home, you can do it! Just be smart, consider your options and seriously evaluate your own personal financial situation.