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First-Time Homebuyer's Guide In Boise And Throughout Idaho

If you're looking to buy your first ever home, it's natural to be nervous and have a lot of questions. Buying your first home is meant to be exciting, which is why you need the right guidance to ensure that preparing for the financial and legal tasks that come with buying a home isn't overwhelming and you don't miss any important steps along the way. At HomeRiver Realty, we've helped thousands of first-time homebuyers in Boise and throughout Idaho and we'd be happy to help you too.

Buying a home is about much more than simply being able to paint your home and make other changes or getting your monthly payments back when you sell, as opposed to getting nothing back when you rent. While these are clearly huge benefits, preparing to buy a home requires you to go over your finances with a fine-tooth comb and make sure you're prepared for the tasks that come with it.

If you're looking for advice regarding financing for your home purchase, we can point you in the right direction to several excellent mortgage brokers and financial advisors who can tell you exactly how much you can borrow and what kind of mortgage you'd qualify for. They're also more than qualified to answer any of your financial questions. We want you to be fully prepared to buy your first home, so we want to make sure you get the right advice and choose a home you can afford.

If you're looking to find the right property, you can browse all the available homes in both the Boise area and around Idaho Falls here. Choose one of the two MLS® feeds at the top of the page or click "More Options" to narrow your search. You can also set up an alert so that you're notified immediately when a home that meets your search criteria hits the market by going to our home finder page.

FAQ For First-Time Buyers In Boise And Idaho Falls?

Because we know that first-time homebuyers have plenty of questions, we thought we'd help shed some light on the most commonly asked questions by our first-time buyers in Boise and the surrounding areas.

Is It The Right Time To Buy Your First Home?

Due to how hot the Boise real estate market has been over the last several years, many first-time buyers are hesitant to make the commitment to buying their first home when prices keep going up. But as we explained in our blog about when to buy and sell in Boise, you're better off buying now rather than later because the market shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. That said, you should talk to us about the type of home you're interested in because in a hot market there are sometimes homes we know about that will receive offers before they even hit the MLS®.

In fact, the real estate market throughout Idaho is very healthy, with prices rising steadily due to a strong economy and inflation. Idaho Falls also has a healthy demand for homes and we have plenty of agents in that area that would be more than happy to help you buy your first home.

Are You Ready To Buy?

As mentioned, owning your own home is about much more than simply being able to renovate and decorate how you please. You have to be prepared to budget for property taxes, as well as the cost of insurance and repairs over the years. There are certainly financial risks that come with the rewards of home ownership, as the market can fluctuate even though in Idaho it has been consistently strong recently. But if you choose a variable rate mortgage your monthly mortgage payments can fluctuate as well. Speaking of mortgages....

Are You Qualified?

Perhaps the most important part of buying a home is knowing how much you can afford. While it can be frustrating to know that your income might not get you as big or luxurious home as you had initially hoped for, it's always better not to stretch your paychecks as thin as you might have when you were renting due to the aforementioned additional costs of home ownership.

We recommend buying a modest home to start and then using the equity from that home as a way to hopefully afford a larger home in the future. But in order to truly know what kind of home you can afford, you should talk to multiple lenders to find out how expensive a home you can afford. Whether it's someone at a bank or a mortgage broker, they will assess your income and potential debt, as well as all the bills you'd have to pay, and then tell you in you've been pre-approved for a mortgage and, if so, how much you can borrow.

What's Your Debt-To-Income Ratio?

This is something that lenders take very seriously. Your overall debt should not be more than 40% of your income, and your housing debt should not be more than 32%. What 32% of your income will buy depends on where you want to live. In rural or downtrodden areas for example, it can buy a very comfortable residence and ample acreage. In highly sought-after urban areas however, it may not even buy a 400-square-foot bachelor suite.

Renting vs. Buying - Check out this COMPARISON CHART

HomeRiver Realty Can Help

You need a good agent who will work hard for you. Our real estate team is dedicated to helping you find the right home, at the best price. We want you to find the home that will make you happy and successful in real estate ownership.

When you hire us to help you buy your first home, we want to know what you want and how much you can afford. Then we'll find a way to merge these two priorities and find a residence that you'll enjoy owning.

Keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical sense, so keep your feelings in check. Keep a list handy of the features that you need and want in a home, and judge each home by the list instead of by details that could distract you from your goal. When you're alone with your agent, you can go over the pros and cons of each home. We can help you stay on track while still keeping our eyes out for a great property.

Engage the services of a good real estate lawyer. We can recommend several lawyers in the area who might be a good fit for you. Interview them to ensure that you get someone you can work with. The legalities of transferring land ownership can be dodgy, and a lawyer can be your best defense against future legal troubles. A good lawyer can charge several hundred to over a thousand dollars for their services, but the thousands of dollars saved in legal fees later on makes this a good expense.

Make the offer. This can be a maze of "buyer", "seller", "chattels", "deposit", and "completion". We'll be happy to prepare the paperwork and go through it with you before submitting it. Remember, the seller may reject or counter your offer, so even at this late date, avoid setting your heart on the home you hope to own. You'll probably have to write a deposit check to the seller's broker that proves the seriousness of your offer.

Get all necessary inspections done. A home inspector will check for signs of harmful materials like asbestos, lead paint and mold. They'll also check for evidence of pests, faulty wiring and leaks. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection done means that you could be stuck in a home with a bad case of black mold and no recourse other than to pay for its removal. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars, but again, this is more than worth it in the end. There are several inspectors in the area that we'd be happy to recommend.

Do a final walkthrough before closing the deal. We'd be happy to do this with you to make sure that everything agreed upon is completed prior to the final signing.

From the first interview that determines your requirements to the moment that you receive the keys, we can help you with the complicated process of buying a home. Don't hesitate to contact us to find out more about how we can make the home buying process easier!

Contact us for more information about first time home purchasing.