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First-Time Home Buyer in St. Albans, VT: 6 Things to Know

First-Time Home Buyer in St. Albans, VT: 6 Things to Know

Do you foresee a future in St. Albans? Referred to as the “Maple Syrup Capital of the World,” St. Albans hosts the fun-filled Vermont Maple Festival each year over the final weekend in April to celebrate everything amazing about maple syrup. From exciting community events to top-notch restaurants, great dining spots, glistening views of Lake Champlain, and stunning historic charm, there are many reasons why you may want to buy your first home here. Here is everything you must know about purchasing a home for the first time in St. Albans.

1. Find a well-qualified real estate agent

When you’re ready to begin searching for your first home, you want to team up with a qualified St Albans real estate agent. With their insightful market knowledge and professional network, they will be a valuable asset on your house hunt. They will connect you with homes for sale in St. Albans, VT, that fit your price range and criteria, attend property showings with you, and help you figure out how much money to offer for a home you just can’t live without. They will submit property offer letters for you, help you negotiate with the other party after submitting your offer, and attend the closing with you to ensure that everything goes smoothly. They will be there by your side every step of the way, guiding you toward wise decisions that focus on your end goals.

2. Set yourself apart from other buyers

If you’re a first-time home buyer in St. Albans, VT, you want to stand out against the sea of other buyers looking for a home in this incredible area. One of the best ways to set yourself apart from your competitors is to devise the most compelling offer for the home you’ve fallen in love with. Your St. Albans real estate agent will work with you to establish the components of your offer, setting a solid asking price, determining a closing date, and deciding on any contingencies you need.

3. Strategize your down payment

Of course, you need to consider how much of a down payment you can afford when you purchase a home. This will be determined by a number of factors, including your mortgage lender and the kind of mortgage you qualify for. Some conventional loans geared toward first-time home buyers with high credit scores require no more than a 3 percent down payment. That being said, even a 3 percent down payment can be difficult to save. Use an online down payment calculator to figure out your down payment goal.

4. Be prepared for all the costs of homeownership

When you buy a home, you don’t just need to worry about the down payment, closing costs, and mortgage. You also need to set some money aside for any upgrades, furniture, immediate home repairs, and property taxes. Being aware of these extra expenses ahead of time is an essential part of financial readiness and responsibility.

5. Check out the available loans and assistance programs

When you’re a first-time home buyer in St. Albans, VT, it’s important to be aware of all of the loan options and assistance programs available to you. The most common kinds of home loans include conventional loans, FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans. The most common type of home loan is a conventional loan, which requires you to put at least 3 percent down.
FHA loans are backed by the government and come with lower credit score limits and financial requirements. As long as you have a credit score of at least 580 and can make a 3.5 percent down payment, you can get an FHA loan. USDA loans are meant for buyers in qualified suburban or rural areas, and you can get a USDA loan with no down payment, based on your household income. VA loans are for members of the National Guard and armed forces, veterans, and qualified spouses. You can buy a house with no down payment if you get a VA loan.
Also known as the VHFA, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency offers assistance programs for eligible buyers. The programs’ benefits include up to $825 in savings on the Vermont Property Transfer Tax when you close on your home, up to $15,000 in closing and down payment assistance, and an annual federal tax credit when you use the Mortgage Credit Certificate.
When researching your loan options, it’s essential to get quotes from multiple lenders to find the best rate and terms. If you want to aim for the lowest interest rate possible, make sure to strengthen your credit score. You can boost your credit score by getting free credit report copies from the TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian credit bureaus and disputing any credit errors that could impact your score. Make sure to pay all of your bills in a timely manner and keep your balances low. Keep all of your current credit cards open and track your credit score regularly.

6. Finish a homebuyer education course

You might need to complete a homebuyer education course to be eligible for homebuyer assistance programs. An education course is an in-person or online class you can take to learn more about all the steps involved in locating, purchasing, and owning a house. These classes will explain what you need to know about the home-buying process, the benefits and challenges of homeownership, mortgage and lending terms, and more.

Ready to get started on your real estate journey?

Are you a first-time home buyer in St. Albans, VT? If so, team up with a top-notch local agent who can guide you through every sticking point and setback. Reach out to the trusted team at Tamithy Howrigan Real Estate for the guidance you can count on. From Chittenden and Fairfax to St. Albans, this is the team you want by your side if you want to get results.

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels


Tamithy Howrigan Real Estate is a team of experienced, licensed real estate agents serving the Franklin, Chittenden, Grand Isle, Lamoille Counties, VT metro area. With a proven track record of getting results quickly and a direct line of communication at all times.  
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