Buying your first home is probably one of the biggest financial decisions you'll ever make. As a result, it's always important that you have a clear idea of how much you can afford and which financing options are available to you as you search for a house. It's recommended that you begin by first pre-qualifying for a loan with a mortgage lender so you can get an estimate of your buying power. Generally, you can borrow up to three times the amount of your annual salary. Once you get an idea of how much you can afford, then explore the hundreds of different home loan programs available. In an effort to attract first-time home buyers, lenders will sometimes offer several affordable mortgage options, which can help you overcome obstacles that made purchasing a home difficult in the past. They can also help borrowers who don't have a lot of money saved for the down payment and closing costs, have no or a poor credit history, have quite a bit of long-term debt, or have experienced income irregularities. For example, many federal agencies such as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association, known as Freddie Mac, and the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, usually offer low down payments to first-time home buyers. If your credit isn't perfect, other government agencies can help, like The Federal Housing Administration. The interest rates from these government loans tend to be a bit higher than other types of loans, but they're generally easier to qualify for. You can also get a conventional loan from a private lender, like a bank. Many times, lenders will offer special discounts to first-time home buyers. Keep in mind that many first-time buyer programs are locally developed and administered. Your state or local community is much more likely to have a program available than a national program. For more information on financing your first home, contact a mortgage broker or a real estate professional.
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