How to Confidently Make the Leap From Renter to Homeowner

Sandra Tagliamonte

How to Confidently Make the Leap From Renter to Homeowner

You know that owning a home is a great investment, but one thing is holding you back: Your confidence.
If you're a renter, it may seem like a daunting task to make the leap from renting to owning. But it's easier than ever to get into homeownership, and there are many ways to do so without taking significant risks.
If you've been thinking about buying a home but aren't sure if it's the right time, there are many ways you can boost your confidence as a first-time home buyer. In this article, we'll go over some of the most effective ways to help ease your fears and make you feel more prepared for this exciting time in your life.

Decide what it is you truly want and need in a home

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If you're considering moving from renter to homeowner, it's important to remember that a home is more than just a place to live. Whether you dream of owning waterfront property in Fort Lauderdale or a modest condominium in a nearby city, it's an investment for your future. And like any investment, you need to know what you're getting into before making a decision.
That's why deciding what you need is essential. The best way to figure out what truly matters to you is by asking yourself some hard questions about what makes a good home. Do you want to be close to public transportation? Do your kids need their own rooms? Do you need space for entertaining? In what kind of neighborhood do you want to live?
Once you've figured out your priorities and what works for you and your family, it's time to focus on finding a place that meets those needs. It might take some patience, but eventually, you'll find what you're looking for in a home.

Establish a solid credit history

Establishing healthy credit habits is probably the most crucial step in becoming a confident homebuyer. Without it, you may not qualify for a mortgage or get the best rates on your home loan.
Solid credit history will show potential lenders that you are responsible with your money, which is an important factor in determining their willingness to lend you money in the future. It also shows that you understand the responsibilities of owning a home and paying off your monthly mortgage payments.
The higher your credit score, the more likely a lender will offer you a home loan at a lower interest rate. Once you know your score and where it falls within the range for each category (i.e., excellent, good, fair), you can improve it over time to meet any prequalification requirements.
You can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time, especially your rent expenses. It'd also be wise to avoid opening new lines of credit unless they're necessary. Doing so can affect your debt-to-income ratio, a major consideration during the preapproval stage. Also, if you plan on cohabitating with your spouse or a roommate, ensure they also have a decent credit score if the lenders will use their finances for the loan decision.
When you're ready to buy your first home, you can look back at your past financial expenditures and see that you have handled your finances responsibly. This will give you more confidence in yourself as a first-time home buyer. Additionally, having a history of responsibly managing your money will help you feel more confident when making such an investment.

Research down payment programs and grants for first-time home buyers

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On average, the American renter will need almost seven years to save for a 20 percent mortgage down payment. But if time is not on your side, your next step will be to research programs specifically designed to help get new owners into their homes sooner.
First-time home buyer grants are government-issued monies to encourage homeownership at the local, state, and federal levels. You can think of this as a thank you from the government for performing a public good–buying a home. Since it is a grant, new homeowners do not have to worry about repayment.

Home shoppers should understand that the U.S. government wants to increase homeownership rates because rising rates positively affect the economy. With bills such as the LIFT Act passed by Congress in 2021, it's clear the U.S. government is on the side of the new homeowner.
First-time home buyer programs are similar to home buyer grants as they are offered at the local, state, and federal levels. They are designed to help those who have never owned a home.
However, new owners are responsible for repaying these mortgage loans unless they qualify for home loan forgiveness.
Loans and grants can significantly reduce the amount of cash you need to pay upfront as a first-time buyer, increasing your chances of securing an offer on a dream property.

Check in with your bank about mortgage preapproval

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For many people, the biggest hurdle in buying a home is mortgage preapproval. Mortgage pre-approval is a process where your bank will look at your financial data such as income, savings, and debts to determine whether you qualify for the loan amount and term length you desire.
Buying a home can be less expensive than renting one. As a renter, it's easy to be tempted by the idea of getting into housing sooner than later, but without being preapproved for a mortgage, you may miss out on the home you want. Pre-qualifying for financing speeds up the process of buying the home.
This process can be time-consuming, but it's important because it gives you an idea of how much house you can afford before you start looking for properties. It also helps potential sellers know that you're serious about buying their property because they can see that the bank has already reviewed your finances and approved you.
Getting pre-approved for a home loan is one of the best ways to build confidence in your ability to buy a house. It gives you a better understanding of your monthly payments and lets you know exactly how much money you have at stake before heading into the home-buying process.

Hire a good real estate agent and stay in contact with them

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If you're a first-time homebuyer, the process can be overwhelming. It's difficult to know whether you're making the right choice. One way to make sure you're making sound decisions is to hire a reputable real estate agent and stay in contact with them throughout the process.
Real estate agents know what to look for when evaluating homes and negotiating prices. They can also provide valuable insight into neighborhoods, schools, and local amenities. They have spent years learning how to navigate this industry to make your experience smooth.
The best part is hiring someone who knows what they're doing, which means less stress for you throughout this process. If you choose wisely and stay in contact with your agent throughout the process, they can help you feel more confident about your decisions and ensure everything goes smoothly from start to finish.
Renting does not have to be a permanent situation. If you're ready to take the leap into home ownership, contact Sandra Tagliamonte and Associates. Her team specializes in luxury Fort Lauderdale homes for sale and will help you with every step of the home-buying process.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock


A top South Florida producer since 2000 and recognized as in the top ½% of real estate producers nationally, Sandra Tagliamonte and Tagliamonte and Associates take pride in their ability to assist clients in the most effective and successful ways.