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March 02, 2024

Getting Started as a First-Time Home Buyer in 2024

First-time homebuyers, 2024 is your year! Market predictions suggest falling mortgage rates and increased housing inventory. This in-depth guide equips you to navigate the buying journey. Learn crucial financial preparation steps, explore how to align your homeownership goals with the right property, and discover valuable real estate market research tips. Unlock your personalized mortgage options, including Florida's first-time homebuyer programs.

This blog is for educational purposes only, not an offer of credit or advertisement for current loan terms. It does not provide legal advice. Refer to our loan web pages or consult professional advisors for specific information.

First-time home buyers rejoice: 2024 is expected to be a much better year for the housing market.

Whether it’s your first time purchasing a home or it’s been several years since you’ve gone through the mortgage process, home buying in 2024 requires a strategic approach and an understanding of your local market.

In this article, we’ll dive into the steps required to successfully prepare for your next home purchase.

Start your application with MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.

Will 2024 be a better time to buy a house?

If you’ve had to sit on the sidelines for the past few years due to high mortgage rates, high home prices, and the lack of homes on the market, you’re not alone.

Fortunately, 2024 is expected to bring some relief for homebuyer hopefuls for the following reasons:

  • Mortgage rates are predicted to drop and stabilize
  • Easing inflation and mortgage rates will bring more sellers to the market
  • Home prices will ease as more supply hits the market
  • New home construction is expected to increase

Market conditions can’t hold back sellers for long—those who have been waiting for the right opportunity will jump at the rate shifts and gradually add more homes to the market.

Additionally, baby boomers downsizing. is expected to bring millions of homes to the market in the coming years.

As the spring buying season approaches, buyers are encouraged to start making their moves now in anticipation of increasing competition.

Let’s discuss the steps buyers-to-be should take as they move forward with the homebuying process.

Get financially prepared

The first step in the home buying process is to take a close look at your current financial situation.

Mortgage lenders have certain requirements for borrowers to meet depending on the type of loan.

These requirements include a good credit score, stable income and employment history, a down payment, closing costs, and more.

The better your financial situation, the greater access you will have to more favorable mortgage rates and terms.

Take the following steps to get financially prepared for the mortgage process:

  1. Create a budget: Evaluate your income and expenses and establish a realistic budget that allows you to save for a down payment, closing costs, and other maintenance costs and fees
  2. Build an emergency fund: Save three to six months of living expenses to cover any unexpected costs of homeownership such as repairs or emergencies
  3. Reduce debt: Organize and prioritize your debts, working to pay off high-interest debts first and avoiding new debt while you work on existing balances
  4. Check your credit: Get free copies of your credit reports, examine them for any inaccuracies, and work to improve your score

Working through these steps will help you to understand how much home you can comfortably afford—which will help streamline the home search.

It’s important to be realistic about the costs involved so your budget is as accurate as possible.

What is a good credit score to buy a house in Florida?

Lenders generally want to see a credit score of at least 620, but higher is always better.

A higher credit score unlocks lower interest rates, better loan terms, and more mortgage options because you have proof that you manage your debts well.

Consider your homeownership goals

While having a five-year plan isn’t a requirement for mortgage loans, it will help you to make sure you’re making the best financial decisions.

For example, if you intend to only stay in the home for three years, you may find it’s more beneficial to get an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) vs. a fixed-rate mortgage.

ARMs typically offer lower initial interest rates compared to fixed-rate mortgages, making them potentially advantageous for shorter-term stays.

You’ll also want to consider the size of the home if you plan to start a family—and take a look at the surrounding school systems.

In your home search, it may be helpful to anticipate potential life changes so you can choose a home that can adapt to your evolving needs.

Research the real estate market

Researching the market will go hand-in-hand with your financial preparedness and homeownership goals.

These factors will help you determine your ideal location, price point, and amenities.

Find an experienced real estate agent in the area of your search to gain valuable local insights and personalized solutions.

Explore your mortgage options

The most popular loan option for first-time home buyers in 2024 is a conventional mortgage.

Conventional mortgages follow the guidelines established by government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but specific requirements will vary by lender.

While conventional loans are the most common option, they are far from the only one.

Various loan options include:

As previously mentioned, homebuyers can choose between an adjustable-rate mortgage and a fixed-rate mortgage, which offers flexibility or long-term stability, depending on what the buyer desires.

Applying for pre-approval with a mortgage lender will provide you with personalized options for your unique loan scenario.

Does Florida have a first-time homebuyer program?

Many lenders in Florida offer first-time homebuyer programs, including MIDFLORIDA.

First-time buyer programs in Florida allow the following:

  • Lower down payment options
  • Sellers can pay toward your closing costs
  • Down payment may be a gift from relatives
  • No penalty for paying off your loan early

Keep in mind that mortgages with less than 20% down require private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Find the right lender

First-time buyers in Florida who require more flexible mortgage options need to connect with a lender who offers these options.

MIDFLORIDA is proud to serve Florida borrowers and provide them with a wide variety of loan options catered to their unique goals.

Apply for a mortgage with MIDFLORIDA

Whatever your goal, we can help.

At MIDFLORIDA, we work with you and want to know your story.

Start your application with MIDFLORIDA to unlock your personalized options as a first-time home buyer in Florida.


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