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The Hood Magazine

Top 5 things first-time homebuyers would change if they could do it all over:

Jul 07, 2020 ● By Dawn Van Nieuwenhuyzen, DVN Mortgage
By: Dawn Van Nieuwenhuyzen, DVN Mortgage

Ever hear the saying “hindsight is 20/20”? The same is true of buying a home. Here are 5 things home-owners wish they would have known before buying their first home:

 1. Buy sooner When is the right time to buy? “The sooner, the better in many instances,” states Dawn Van Nieuwenhuyzen, Senior Mortgage Banker at Plains Commerce Bank. Take the South Dakota Housing and Development Authority First-Time Homebuyer program as an example. Many first-time homebuyers take advantage of this program. It’s an appealing option as you only need a 3% down payment. You may also receive a dollar-for-dollar income tax reduction* up to $2,000 for the life of your loan through this program. However, there are income limits. Many borrowers, especially couples, may make too much money. They’re right on the qualifying line for the program. If you’re nearing that line and want to use this program, you may want to buy before you make too much. Also, you never know how low or high interest rates will go. If you wait a year, you may miss out on a great opportunity. They can change at any time. Even if interest rates go up half a percent tomorrow, remember that it’s still a lot cheaper than when your parents bought. It could also continue increasing. Act while there is a great opportunity in front of you.

2. Talk to a mortgage banker sooner Financial stability is important when you’re looking at buying a home. However, even if you feel confident in your ability to pay for a home loan, your financial profile may tell your mortgage banker a different story. • Do you have student loans? • Do you know your credit score? • Do you have 3 trade lines/credit accounts? • Are you planning on making another major purchase? • Do you have money in the bank for emergencies? These are all things to consider before house shopping. A great banker, like Dawn, will help you assess your financial situation to determine the plan best for you.

3. Get prequalified before shopping The housing market is very competitive. The best homes go fast, and if you’re not prepared, you may miss out on a great find. That’s why it’s important to get prequalified for a home loan before you even start your house hunt. You’ll want to know how much home you can afford. In addition, most sellers will not accept an offer without proof of prequalification. If you find your dream home and try to make an offer without a letter from the bank, you could be turned down regardless of your offer.

4. Find a realtor Realtors play an instrumental role in the home-buying process. Going without one can cause frustration, confusion, and unnecessary headaches. What are the benefits of having a realtor?
 • Realtors are in and out of homes all day long, so they can recommend what is a good property and what isn't.
• They’ll work on your behalf, behind the scenes, using their network to find homes with features you want.
• They’ll handle all the confusing paperwork.
• They’ll recommend actions you should take, such as getting inspections, making conditional offers, and more. Realtors have access to data you don’t, and they’ll give you an advantage when it comes to finding and buying the home of your dreams.

 5. Conduct a home inspection It’s important to know what’s happening in every square inch of the home you’re about to buy. Inspections will uncover current problems with the home and potential future ones. Inspections may include radon mitigation system, plumbing, fireplace, electrical, heating and cooling systems, foundation, windows, mold, plumbing, infestations, etc. If the inspector finds something, in some instances, the current homeowner may fix this as a part of the sale.

 Are you a first-time homebuyer? What an exciting time! If you’re looking for an expert to learn more about the entire process, from prequalification to closing, Dawn Van Nieuwenhuyzen is here to help. And her advice won’t cost you a thing! Give her a call at 605.271.9754, email [email protected], or get started on your application at

Dawn Van Nieuwenhuyzen – Senior Mortgage Banker – NMLS #21096 – Plains Commerce Bank