The First Step To Your First Home

Homes0706_1Thinking about joining the growing number of next-gen homeowners? Making that first time leap from renter to homeowner is not as complicated, or scary, as you might think. The allure of swapping the monthly rent for the value of homeownership has renters jumping into the housing market more than any other segment.

What’s the attraction? Many look at it like this: The monthly payment for housing is a significant chunk of everyone’s paycheck. It may make a lot of sense to lock in your monthly housing costs for the next 30 years before rents and mortgage rates go up.

So you’re ready to make that first purchase, but before you jump into the car with the open house guide in hand to start shopping, here are some tips to keep you on track.

Remember that buying real estate is often emotional. In the end you want to go with your heart and buy the home that feels right for you. But throughout the process, and in order to ultimately be successful, you’ll need a solid financial game plan. Get some advice, someone to help you keep track of the business side of home buying — the gathering of financial documents, credit checks, income verifications, appraisals, contracts, loan applications, etc. Start with a First Hawaiian Bank mortgage loan officer or personal banker.

Having organized finances is key, according to Elina Grugier-Bell, Assistant Vice President and Manager of First Hawaiian Bank’s Mortgage

Banking Department. “And at First Hawaiian Bank, we can handle all the financial details and help you navigate the way.”

Grugier-Bell says the top concerns of a first-timer are: Can I afford to buy a home? Can I qualify for a loan? Is this too much of a stretch financially? Can my family assist with a portion of the down payment?

These concerns are perfectly normal, and sitting down with a personal banker is the best way to put your mind at ease.

“We will gather all their financial information, years of work experience and credit history, and analyze all of these to determine what the possible purchase price, loan amount and monthly payment would best suit their current financial position,” she says. “By looking into monthly payment, taxes, insurance, home maintenance expense, we can better determine if the cost of home ownership is comfortable or too much of a stretch financially.”

Sound complicated? It’s not really, especially with expert help. But market conditions are subject to change and there’s no telling how long rates will remain low. Grugier-Bell adds that this summer is a great time for first-timers, as “market values have become more stable while rates have remained low. This stability, combined with responsible lending programs and construction projects offering owner-occupant programs, provide great options for first-time homebuyers.”

One such program is the First Step Home Loan by First Hawaiian Bank.

“The bank created this product exclusively for first-time homebuyers, to assist them with their dream of homeownership,” says Grugier-Bell. “It’s for that person, couple or family who work hard, make a decent living and income, have established a good credit history, but have limited funds for a down payment on a home.

“This product has many great features, including a competitive rate, no mortgage insurance and an option where family gifts can be accepted as part of a low down payment,” she adds. “First Hawaiian Bank really wanted to help first-time homebuyers by offering a product that provides an overall savings upfront, and over the years that they own their home.”

Today’s low mortgage interest rates have created a unique first-time buying opportunity, enabling many next-gen families to take the step toward homeownership.

Talk to First Hawaiian Bank early in the game. Find out how their First Step Home Loan can put the Hawaii Dream of owning a home within reach. The answer may surprise you.

Sandwich Isles Realty
Kimo Smigielski, Broker-in-Charge
R, ABR, CRS, GRI, e-PRO
Sotheby’s International Realty
Keiko Kakiyama,
RA, GRI, ABR, SRS, RSPS, SFR