WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING A HOME IN BLUFFTON, SC

The Down Payment

In the current economic climate, the reluctance of mortgage lenders to extend credit freely reduces your options for a low-percentage down payment. In many cases, you will be expected to put no less than 20% down towards your new home; at that level you can also avoid paying private mortgage insurance. If your calculations indicate that you can't put enough down for what is called a "conventional" mortgage, you may have to explore alternative ways to buy a home.

First-time Buyer programs may be available, some of which offer seminars about home ownership responsibilities, are a relatively new resource. A certificate of completion from one of these programs may include a homebuyer credit, or even an interest-free loan that could provide part of your down payment. Even if you have owned a home before, you may be eligible to participate if you have not owned real estate within the last three to five years!

Additional options include Veteran's Administration ("VA") loans or mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration ("FHA"). Both these types are guaranteed by the Federal Government, and require less up-front capital. They are also more cumbersome to qualify for, with specific eligibility requirements. If you're planning to get an FHA-insured or VA-guaranteed mortgage, you may get a bigger loan and make a smaller down payment. Sellers in a hot market are usually not eager to do business with buyers using this type of financing due to the extra paperwork and appraisal delays these loans often entail, but in a slower market, they may be more willing to go through the process.

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