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Top Ten Things First Homebuyers Should Know by Frontdoor.com

HGTV’s FrontDoor.com Identifies Top 10 Things First-Time Homebuyers Should Know

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Mar 08, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Buying a home for the first time can be complex. To avoid mistakes and make a smart purchase, do the homework and know what to expect. To help start the process, HGTV’s FrontDoor.com identifies the top 10 important points every first-time buyer must know. (http://www.frontdoor.com/top10)

#1: Just because it’s a buyer’s market doesn’t mean you should buy right now. Don’t let the lucrative market dictate a buying decision if the time isn’t absolutely right. Potential homebuyers need to ask themselves if they have a good credit score, if their job is secure and if they can stay in the home for a few years. If the answer to these questions is “no,” it might make more sense to wait until life and finances are more stable.

#2: The cost of owning a home is more than just the purchase price. On top of a mortgage payment, there are several monthly fees and expenses any first-time buyer should consider when becoming a homeowner: insurance, property taxes, utilities and maintenance. Think about scaling back the home price in order to better budget for the entire package.

#3: Programs are out there to help first-time buyers. A sizeable down payment is great to have for a home purchase, but not everyone can afford to fork over 20 percent upfront. Fortunately, there are many federal, state and local programs geared toward helping first-time homebuyers with down payments, interest rates and loan terms sure to make the whole process and affordability a bit easier.

#4: Foreclosures and short sales present great deals, but proceed with caution. Buying a foreclosed or short sale home can be a risky proposition for a first-time buyer. Foreclosures are often sold “as-is,” while a short sale transaction can be lengthier and more complicated than a typical home purchase. First-timers should consult an agent or attorney with specialization in these areas.

#5: Getting pre-approved for a loan gives you more buying power. Obtaining lender pre-approvals are important because it establishes a homebuyer’s maximum purchase price, shows sellers that the buyer is serious about buying a home and lets the homebuyer compare interest rates and terms to find the best deal.

#6: Good school districts boost property value. One of the most important aspects of a home’s value is the neighborhood where it’s located. Even if the homebuyer does not have kids, buying a home near sought-after schools can help the resale value.

#7: You may be able to access your tax credit upfront. Buyers using FHA-insured mortgages can apply their tax credit toward their home purchase immediately, rather than waiting until they file their income taxes to receive a refund. Prospective buyers who believe they qualify for the credit are also allowed to reduce their income tax withholding, therefore increasing their take-home pay.

#8: Not all real estate agents represent buyers. There are three types of agents: listing agents, who represent sellers and help them get the best price; buyers’ agents, who represent buyers and protect their interests; and agents who represent either (or both). Often, first-time buyers prefer to work exclusively with a buyer’s agent so there are no possible conflicts of interest.

#9: Doing your homework can help you make a competitive offer. Before buying the home, determine the property’s market value by having the realtor conduct a comparative market analysis. This report will show what buyers were willing to pay for similar homes in the area, giving a good idea of what will make a fair offer.

#10: It’s important to have a back-out plan. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure to have a contingency plan in case things don’t go as planned in the home inspection or appraisal. If the home has a major flaw or doesn’t appraise for the purchase price, an escape plan allows the contract to be voided.

About FrontDoor.com

FrontDoor.com (http://www.frontdoor.com) is an online real estate information service powered by HGTV, the No.1 source for home-related media content. The site currently offers more than 4 million listings of homes for sale. In addition to providing users with the latest real estate listings, FrontDoor.com houses expert HGTV advice and videos along with original Web series and a comprehensive library of features, tools, guides and information. Users can also interact with FrontDoor through Facebook and Twitter.

FrontDoor.com is run by Scripps Networks Digital, a diversified multi-platform programmer that delights millions daily with award-winning content in the home, food and living categories. Scripps Networks Digital’s Web sites — HGTV.com, FoodNetwork.com, DIYNetwork.com, FineLiving.com, GACTV.com, Recipezaar.com, HGTVPro.com, FrontDoor.com; and the newest Food2.com — are powered by engaging content, interactive tools and social spaces that take fans of Scripps Networks cable brands further into the story and offer online users information and inspiration to fuel their passions. SN Digital also distributes content to mobile and online partners, providing lifestyle solutions virtually anywhere, anytime.

If you are a member of the media, please log on to the Scripps Networks Online Media Center (http://newsroom.scrippsnetworks.com) for the latest brand news, useful photos and graphics, detailed programming information, contacts and current research.

SOURCE: FrontDoor.com

Scripps Networks
Kristin Alm, 865-560-4316
Corporate Communications
kalm@scrippsnetworks.com