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Making your first home purchase dream a reality

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POSTED October 27, 2011 11:08 p.m.

Buying a home is more than numbers, dollars and cents. The pride of owning your own home is an incredible feeling, providing a place for you and your family to come together and build memories.

For many, getting through the process of buying a home can be daunting, if not downright frightening. Talk to anyone considering buying a home for the first time, and many will say the same thing: “There’s so much information - I don’t know where to start or where to turn for answers. It’s overwhelming.”

With all the potential pitfalls out there, it’s key to arm yourself with the right tools to help you navigate the intricacies of the home buying process. Getting the right information and help along the way will make this milestone purchase easier and hassle-free.

Knowledge is power

While partnering with a real estate agent and knowledgeable mortgage lender will go a long way towards home buying success, empowering yourself is also important. You are not alone, but you’re also your own best advocate.

Learn about the neighborhoods where you might want to live, and think about your day-to-day lifestyle when deciding what area - and type of home - is right for you. Take a home buyer education course - they’re often free and will help prepare you for the home buying process. The U.S. Department of Housing (www.hud.gov), NeighborWorks America (www.nw.org), and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (www.nfcc.org) are all great resources for further education on buying a home. Or you can check with your bank - some, like TD Bank, offer sites that provide one-stop shop info on buying your first home.

Real-ing and dealing

Partnering with a real estate agent can help make the process of buying your first home more efficient and hassle-free. A real estate professional will help you assess your needs and wants in a home, and then utilize that information to narrow the field of available homes in your price range to a manageable pool. Well-versed in the local area, a real estate professional can help ensure you’re getting a better price, will negotiate on your behalf, and can protect your rights as a homebuyer. Your agent also may be able to make mortgage lender recommendations.

Find a financial partner, not just mortgage rates

Like buying a home, choosing a mortgage provider is about more than terms and rates - it’s about finding a company that has the knowledge to help you succeed.

“Find a lender who is also your financial partner,” says Mike Copley, executive vice president, retail lending at TD Bank. “Your mortgage advisor should work with you to find the borrowing solution that’s right for you, and make the experience as straightforward and hassle-free as possible. Your lender’s commitment to you shouldn’t end with the closing of your loan.”

Some things to consider when selecting a mortgage lender: Will I be supported from application to closing - and beyond? Are there application fees? How quickly will I have a decision on my application? What type of mortgage should I choose? Does my mortgage provider service their own loans, or can they be sold to another institution later? Does my mortgage provider have a strong customer service focus, so I can ensure my needs are being met? The answers to these questions will help you forge the right partnership with the right mortgage lender.

There’s nothing to fear about buying your first home if you’re an educated consumer who finds the right real estate and mortgage team to help you make your dreams come true. So get out there and find your dream home!

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