Representatives from all sides of the home buying process offered advice to over 50 faculty and staff about the proper steps toward home ownership in the Sierra Center Tuesday.
The University Corporation First Time Home Buyers Seminar gave insight from Wells Fargo home mortgage consultants, Stewart escrow officers and a real estate attorney.
The event came after California saw 51,842 homes foreclose in September, according to RealtyTrac.
“The purpose of this event is to educate,” said Linda Turner, associate director of real estate for The University Corporation.
Purchasing a home is one of the most important moments of a person’s life, she added.
Throughout the event, each speaker stressed many of the same keys to making the buying process smooth and surprise-free.
Getting credit in order, paying off outstanding debts and determining what a prospective buyer can reasonably afford are the most important factors before seriously considering buying a home, Turner said.
“This is a buyers market,” Turner said. “This is your time. Don’t let it get away from you.”
The first step in the process is to get pre-approved for a loan by a lender. Procedures for getting pre-approved are tighter now than when the housing bubble burst just a few years ago, said Jeff Neistein, Wells Fargo branch manager.
“Now you have to show your income on pretty much everything,” Neistein said. “We never did crazy loans, though.”
Potential lenders will look closely at credit score, recent pay stubs and W-2 forms before pre-approving a loan.
“Even if you’re someone with (an) 800 credit (score), you’re still going to have to provide the same information that someone with a lower score will have to,” said Jacqueline Mills, Wells Fargo home mortgage consultant.
Fernando Arboleda, also a Wells Fargo home consultant, suggested those in the market to buy consider how much of a down payment they can reasonably afford, as well as monthly payment for their mortgage.
It’s important to let the lender know what the maximum amount of money a potential buyer can afford to pay for their mortgage and other monthly payments, said Arboleda. The amount should land somewhere around 50 percent of the buyer’s monthly income.
After determining they are ready to shop for a house and getting pre-approved by a bank, the next step is finding a reputable real estate agent.
“A real estate agent is not a home inspector,” said Robert J. Carlson, real estate attorney. “Be careful what they tell you.”
In addition to going over steps to home ownership, lecturers attempted to translate jargon by explaining title insurance and escrow.
While many faculty and staff said they were better informed after the presentation, there was still confusion about intricate dealings.
“It answered a lot of questions,” said Virginia Huynh, associate professor of child and adolescent development. “It also raised a lot of questions. I have a lot of homework to do.”