Buying a home, qualifying for a mortgage for the first time

This is a transcript of the video:

With a little luck, Lala Souksavat should be turning the keys to open the door to her new home.

Lala Souksavat lives in a condo in Roscoe Village…but her real dream is to own a home.

Souksavat: I’ve been looking for new construction homes. Figured I’d start a home with my own memories, and they’ve been really reasonably priced, much more reasonable than I’ve seen in the past.

Though prices are right, she’s had difficulty qualifying for a mortgage.

Souksavat: I’ve been looking for a house for about 2 years now. I’ve had a lot of difficulties because I’ve been an independent contractor for so long.

Akos Straub: If you’re an independent contractor and you just got your job within a year or it’s a commissioned job, you’re not going to qualify. It’s going to be tough.

Akos Straub is a real estate broker. He says qualifying for a mortgage is the first step.

Straub: First time home buyers…when they step into our office, be prepared, be pre-qualified by mortgage prof. you have to find out what your buying power is. So you want to stay within your budget, if you want to stay at 250, don’t look at homes for 300. I won’t show you homes for 300, I’ll show you homes at 270 so we have some negotiating power.

Straub says it’s especially important for first-time home buyers to use a broker.

Straub: Finding the right broker is very important. Some people try to do it on their own — don’t do it. The service is free when you purchase a home. You don’t have to pay out of pocket when you purchase a home in Chicago.

So you’re pre-qualified, you have a broker, and you’re ready to house hunt. On the big day, Straub says you should eat a hearty meal, avoid sugars, and bring a notepad and camera.

Straub: We’ll look at about 10 properties, and we’ll narrow it down to the one you like, maybe you’ll have a couple of them that you like. And we’ll want to put in offers — don’t be afraid to make an offer.

Remembering that, with prices and interest rates so low, now is the time to buy.

Souksavat: I’ve been advised by brokers that right now is a good time, so to take my offer letter and get approved for what I can at this point so I can lock in a good interest rate.

Right now Souksavat returns to her condo, but with the interest rate on a 30-year mortgage at 3.9 percent, she hopes a new home is in her near future. This is Simone Del Rosario for Money Talks.

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