Entering the real estate market for the first time can be a daunting experience. With fluctuating housing prices and skyrocketing interest rates, it’s essential to have a solid plan and reliable resources. This article will provide tips and insights for first-time homebuyers to navigate the market successfully.

Choosing a Trustworthy Realtor

Working with a professional realtor with local knowledge and experience is crucial for first-time homebuyers. Santa Cruz realtors, for example, have a deep understanding of the market and property prices. They also have institutional knowledge, community connections, and access to resources like Chase Home Lending’s refreshed suite of homebuyer resources and assistance programs.

Know Your Credit Score

Understanding your credit score is essential for securing a lower interest rate on your mortgage. Check your credit report for errors and report them to improve your score. Paying outstanding credit card debt and increasing credit card limits can also contribute to a higher credit score and lower mortgage interest rates.

Location Matters

First-time homebuyers should consider their values and priorities when choosing a location. Bankrate ranked 50 metro areas based on affordability, job market, housing market tightness, and wellness and culture. The best cities for first-time homebuyers include Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Kansas; Raleigh, North Carolina; Minneapolis; and Jacksonville, Florida. However, personal factors like proximity to the family may outweigh these rankings, as was the case for Mercedes Gonzalez Mayo, who chose to buy her first home in Long Island, New York.

Seek Assistance and Resources

First-time homebuyers can benefit from attending events like the free expo in June, where industry experts in lending, legal, and real estate share market insights and tips. The Housing Partnership, a nonprofit group, aims to bridge the gap for first-time homebuyers and renters seeking affordable housing. Their federal Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counseling program is a requirement for those seeking down-payment and closing cost assistance programs, which can range from $5,000 to $100,000. Local and state downpayment assistance programs and lender-specific grants can also provide additional support for qualified buyers.