Overcoming the stress of buying your first home
Buying a home for the first time is a life-changing event. Consequently, a great deal of time, energy and emotion get poured into the process, creating plenty of home buying anxiety. As with anything that you’ve never done before, you’ve got to learn as you go.
Fortunately for you, there are a lot of resources that you can use that will help ease the tension you may feel about buying your first home. A tried-and-true advantage for many first timers is our Ultimate Guide to Buying your First Home. It’s 67 pages full of detailed advice for every stage of the homebuying process—and it’s free.
But using the Guide to become as knowledgeable as possible is just one way that you can deal with the stress. Here’s some proven advice to help you feel secure and supported while dealing with the stress of buying a house.
Don’t dread that down payment
Being short on cash doesn’t mean it’s impossible to buy a home and 20 percent down isn’t an ironclad requirement. While a down payment can certainly help secure a house, prospective homebuyers may not need as big of a down payment as they think.
Lenders have created programs designed to help homebuyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, afford the initial upfront payment that you have to make when buying a home. A Guaranteed Rate loan officer can help you take advantage of one of the many Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs. We also offer a variety of loans with low down payment options.
Find the full financial picture
One way to ease the stress of buying a house is to use the full range of research tools available online to find out what homes cost and what you can afford.
- Decide the value of the home you’re looking at using our home evaluation tool.
- Use a mortgage calculator to research monthly mortgage payments and figure out just how much you’ll be able to handle in monthly payments.
- Our GRAffordable tool allows you to see a wide range of available loan options. You can browse through them to find out how much different options would cost you upfront or on a monthly basis.
- You can also find out your current credit score to see if you should work on improving it before you apply for a loan
Budgeting and loan shopping will help you get a full view of what you can afford. Student loans and other debt could be a factor if you’re buying a house for the first time, but fortunately, student loans don’t have to block the path to homeownership. Options such as FHA loans, which allow lower down payment options and higher debt ceilings, could be the answer.
Use technology to make the process smoother
It used to be that buying a home was an extremely time-consuming affair. Even beyond the days you spend looking at homes and deliberating on which is the one, bidding on a home and closing on the loan could entail untold hours of back and forth. And don’t get us started if you didn’t have easy access to a fax machine.
Thankfully, today’s technology has come a long way and can make the entire process much smoother. You should take advantage of the latest digital breakthroughs as much as you can because there’s nothing more stressful than looking for a last-minute fax machine to get some necessary documents out.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve likely already gone down the rabbit hole of easily searchable listings websites and apps with interactive home interior photos for you to peek into houses and their prices. You’ll frequently discover comparable properties when using these digital tools.
Apply and close on a mortgage
It’s possible today for you to manage all of your responsibilities of getting a mortgage completely digitally. Guaranteed Rate was the first lender to offer a completely digital mortgage application. Now you can get a pre-approval letter, upload all of your necessary documents, and in some cases even close on your loan, completely digitally. Our award-winning FlashClose technology even lets some borrowers skip the closing table completely to close their loan remotely.*
Manage your mortgage, and more, from your phone
Guaranteed Rate has a new Rate App that combines your financial wellness with your overall wellness. It gives you access to financial products that could help you reduce high-interest debt, save for a home, or get the funds needed to improve your current home. You can find insurance products, helping mortgage and homeownership content and many financial tools and calculators within the app.
The app also has a library of free wellness vides, including workouts and lessons from Deepak Chopra, that are designed to help you manage your stress.
Learn about the mortgage process
The mortgage process might add to your home-buying anxiety or seem intimidating, from odd new acronyms to why it’s better to be pre-approved than pre-qualified. There is plenty of paperwork and a lot of personal financial history to examine. You may need to provide bank statements, at least two years of W-2s, work history and other documentation. And once you provide that information, you’re often in the dark about the steps of the loan process.
Fortunately, a lot of traditional paperwork can now be submitted digitally. This will save you a good deal of time and hopefully make the process easier when you’re ready to start financing. You will also have a local home mortgage expert and their team to help you through the process.
Pick the members of your home buying team wisely
Buying a new house doesn’t happen overnight. Gathering all the necessary documentation to apply for financing and find a home you’re happy with will likely take some time. You’ll want to look closely inside each property under consideration and weigh your choice carefully. This could take some time and expertise, so you’ll need a strong support team in place.
Tell your family and friends about your home shopping so more people are invested. Ask them to help you find the local experts that can help you navigate the housing market in the neighborhoods you’re looking at. You need to have faith and trust in your real estate agent, loan officer and every member of your team.
Choose them as carefully as you would a new home to ensure they aren't adding to the stress of buying a home. The good news is that you all have a shared goal and there’s a new home waiting for you at the end! That should keep everybody in the game.
*Not eligible for all loan types, or investors. Conventional loans only. Eligible for primary, 2nd home and investment properties. Title company restrictions may apply, not eligible for HFA programs. Knowledge-Base Authentication (KBA) required in order to enter the digital signing session. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Full eClose is not currently eligible in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and West Virginia
Guaranteed Rate, Inc. is a private corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware. It has no affiliation with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Department of Agriculture or any other government agency.
Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information.