As a first time home buyer
You may be asking, how do I start?
My name is Nicole
& I’m here to help!
My Building Blocks of Homeownership
Getting A Mortgage
Finding Your Home
FREE online tools make browsing for and finding your home a breeze.
Leave the details to me. I’ll handle hiccups along the way.
12 Steps to Buying A House: From Start to Finish for First Time Home Buyers
Buying Your First Home Can Seem Daunting. That’s Where I Come In!
You may be asking yourself, “Where do I start?” or “Can I even afford a house?”
I know this because that’s what I was asking myself as well right before this picture was taken! I bought my first home in Little Rock just a few months before becoming a Realtor.
I remember having so many questions and to be honest, not all of them got answered for me. So I have written this page with YOU in mind. As your home buying coach, I have created this page packed with resources to educate you and get you prepared to go through the Arkansas home buying process without any worry.
At the end of this course you will be confident in your decision to invest in yourself and your family to purchase your first home anywhere in Arkansas.
You will be armed with information on how to get a loan, find your home and what comes after you make an offer on a house.
What Is A Mortgage? Who Can Qualify?
A home loan or mortgage is a loan from a lender to help you finance the purchase of your home. I highly suggest that speaking with a lender is one of the first things you do when planning your purchase.
Your lender will be able to tell you confidently how much house you can afford and will give you a pre-approval letter that we will submit with any offers we make.
What are the different types of loans?
- USDA – Rural Development
How do I get the best interest rate?
I encourage even experienced home buyers to shop around for loans! You are not always going to get the best deal from your bank. Half a percent on your interest rate can make a BIG difference over time!
Do I need a down payment?
In Arkansas, we have some super cool loan programs that do not require a down payment. Check out the descriptions of each loan type to find the best fit for you and your finances.
Will I have to live in the house for 30 years?
Absolutely not!! In fact, it is assumed that you will only live in your house for 3 to 5 years.
How long does it take to get Pre-Qualified?
Typically a lender can have you pre-qualified within 1 business day!
Financing done the right way,
There are many financing options available to you when purchasing a house.
The 4 most common loan types are Conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA Rural Development.
You may have heard of at least one of these before, but if you haven’t there is nothing to worry about. I will explain what each of these common loan types mean, what minimum criteria you must meet to qualify for them, and any general conditions attached to each loan type.
What is an FHA loan?
Basically an FHA loan is a government backed loan. It has proven to be super popular with first time home buyers for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that the required minimum credit score needed to qualify is a 600 which is lower than the score needed for a conventional loan. Another reason why the FHA loan is exceptionally great is because you only need a 3.5% down payment.
As a first time home buyer, you may have student loans to pay back, some credit card debt and possibly a wedding that has all been on your plate since graduating. If that’s the case, saving for a home down payment can take some time.
That’s why an FHA loan is perfect for many first time buyers. Want more info on obtaining an FHA loan? contact me
What is a USDA Rural Development loan?
If you are living from paycheck to paycheck or if extra money is just hard to save up for a down payment, an Arkansas Rural Development loan may be the perfect fit for you.
What’s the perk with this type of loan you ask? NO DOWN PAYMENT! Like really, none at all.
There are some qualifiers though. To get a Rural Development loan you need to have at least a 620 credit score and a household income of less than $86,850 for 1-4 family members. The other factor is that not all areas in Central Arkansas qualify for Rural Development. Browse my list of Rural Development homes for sale to see which areas qualify. Want more info on obtaining a USDA loan? contact me
What is a VA loan?
If you’re a veteran or currently serving in the military, you have a mortgage option that isn’t available to other Americans—the VA loan! This loan type is super attractive to first time home buying veterans because it is fairly easy to qualify for and like the Rural Development loan, it does NOT require a down payment.
What is a Conventional loan?
Conventional loans are bank loans that are not backed by a government agency like the previous loan types. As a first time home buyer in Arkansas you may qualify for a conventional loan.
The down payment required for a conventional loan ranges mainly from 5% to 20%.
In Central Arkansas, you can qualify for this type of loan as a first time home buyer if you have good credit, money for at least 5% of purchase price for a down payment and are making over the income limit for a rural development loan.
As a first time home buyer with good credit, it is likely that you will be able to finance your home through either an FHA or Conventional loan.
Your lender will be able to walk you through both financing options and discuss which option is the best fit for you. Want more info on obtaining a conventional loan? contact me
Why your First Step should be to take action and get pre-qualified for a Home Loan
Before I take on first time home buyer clients, the first thing I do is ask for a pre-qualification letter from your lender.
You might be thinking right now, “OMG! Why would anyone ask for that?” So here is the reason why. Imagine a situation where you as a buyer have found your dream home in your dream neighborhood that checks off all your wants and needs, but there is one problem. It also checks off the wants and needs of other buyers in the market and we are met with a multiple offer situation.
If you do not have a pre-qualification letter from a lender that says you are financially able to afford this house, the seller will not see your offer as strong when opposed to the next buyer that has a pre-qualification letter.
If on the other hand you have this letter, any sensible seller will consider your offer and will be open to negotiations.
So, if you’ve made the decision to purchase a house and you meet the criteria outlined for the 4 common loan types then the best time to get pre-qualified is TODAY!
I'd like to compare Home Loans for up to:
How are you using this information?
I share this information with local loan professionals to help them look for pre-qualified rates for you. Any professionals I associate with are not allowed to sell your information or call you with sales pitches.
How is pre-qualification different from applying?
Pre-qualification is like a mini loan application. Without digging deep into your finances and asking for proof of your income and assets, lenders speak with you to get a good sense of your finances to educate you on how much home you can safely afford.
Finding Your Home
At this point you may have an idea of the area you want to live in. This is a super exciting time for you as a first time home buyer as I like to think the home searching process is really where things get fun! You may find that the first house you see is the one for you! Or, it might take a while for you to find your perfect home, and that’s okay!
As a licensed Realtor in Central Arkansas, I can schedule showings and take you to tour any home on your list at any time!
Do I need a Buyer's Agent to Buy a Home?
My advice to you as a first time home buyer is to work with a buyer’s agent. As a buyer’s agent my fiduciary responsibility is to look out for your interests first and not the seller’s. Note that in almost every instance, the seller pays the fee for your buyer’s agent, so it costs you nothing extra.
When can I look at houses?
I can unlock any home for you listed by any company! So, we can pretty much look at houses whenever you are free. It is good practice to give me at least 24 hours notice so that I have time to let the sellers of the property know that we will be coming by.
Should I go to open houses?
You can if you want to! If you plan on attending an open house, let me know! I will either go with you or provide you with some of my open house “guest passes.” The reason I do this is to protect you as a buyer. See, the Realtor or home owner that is sitting at that open house has the seller’s best interests in mind. They may be trained to ask you questions to prompt you to talk about your budget or other things that can hurt your negotiating power. By taking me or my guest passes with you, you will not need to provide the open house host with any personal contact information or answer any questions.
What's the best app/site to look for homes?
You’ve landed on it! The best place to search for homes is right here on NarkHomes.com. I designed this site out of frustration right after buying my first home. Basically, if you use a national site or app to do your home search, you will be given a lot of false information. I was finding homes on Zillow and Trulia, sending them to my Realtor only for her to tell me that they had sold months ago. If you are looking for a website that’s updated DAILY with Arkansas homes for sale start your home search right here!!
Can I look at For Sale by Owner homes?
Absolutely! If you see a For Sale By Owner home that you are interested in, send me a picture of it! I will reach out to the owner and schedule a showing for us.
Should I call the number on the For Sale sign?
No. This is a BIG misconception. The number that is listed on a For Sale sign is the phone number for the listing agent of the home. That agent is representing the seller and their best interests. If you are a buyer, you do not want to work with a listing agent because their allegiance is to the seller not you.
How we’ll find your home
This is when things get really exciting! You and I will sit down and discuss your wants and needs for your home. At this point, you will have already spoken with a lender and received your pre-qualification letter.
The loan pre-qualification letter gives us your maximum home budget. With your account on NarkHomes.com, you will be able to view homes that fit your specific needs.
These homes will be updated daily so that we can schedule showings and see homes early in effort to beat out other buyers that may be interested. You can save your favorite homes and schedule showings right through the website. Of course, I am always available on my cell or by email if you prefer!
Purchasing a home as a first time home buyer in Arkansas is a BIG deal! And, the purchase can seem especially daunting if you haven’t been through it before. It is my promise to you to be by your side from the start to beyond closing day. I understand that a home purchase can be a lot to handle! I created this page packed with resources to educate you and get you prepared to go through the home buying process without any worry. It is my hope that by the time you get to this point you feel confident that you have an ally in this process who will do whatever she has to in order to make your dreams of home ownership a reality!
What comes after I make an offer?
After you make an offer and it is accepted, you are under contract! At this point we will schedule your home inspection, lock your interest rate and I will coordinate all of the parties involved.
Can I back out of a deal?
Technically, yes. Although, I would not enter a deal unless you are actually serious about closing on that home. If something comes up in the inspection that is too big of a deal breaker for you, you can step away.
Can the seller back out of the deal?
Again, technically yes the seller can back out of a deal but only if you let them. When a seller lists the property and accepts an offer, they are agreeing to sell their home. If they want to break that commitment to sell, you as the buyer can sue them.
What if another buyer beats me to the house I want?
Sometimes this happens. As your Realtor it is my goal to equip you with the best tools so that this does not happen.
When do I get the keys?
You get the keys when both you as the buyer and the seller close. Almost all of the time, both you and the seller will be closing on the same day so in most cases as soon as you sign your closing documents, I can hand you keys.
What I Will Help You With
Finding your home
Inspecting the house
Writing an offer
Assembling a deal
Closing on your home
Get In Touch
Ready to talk about buying your first home!? It is my passion to help first time home buyers just like you get into an affordable home that they love! I am looking forward to hearing from you.