How is today’s Atlanta housing market different for first-time buyers? Do you really need to prepare for homeownership differently than you did, say, 5 years ago?

When trying to decide if now’s the time to buy, many first time homebuyers wonder how much money it will take to get in the door. To get the best monthly mortgage payments, Glink says a first-time buyer should start with a good credit score – over 720 – and a 20 percent down payment. That’s not to say that you can’t get into a home for less, but Glink points out that you’ll save on monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you have at least the 20 percent at the start. The good credit score will get you a lower interest rate, which also means a lower monthly payment.

Assuming you have the cash and the credit potential, today’s market still requires some soul searching. Do you plan to stay in the home for awhile? Glink says that in the past, you could pretty much move into a home and know you would be able to sell it in a relatively short time for more than you paid. Unfortunately, the market doesn’t work quite like that today. If you’re planning to move again in just a couple of years, Glink suggests that you consider renting instead.

Do you have tips of your own to add?

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