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First-time homebuyers guide for Illinois

Real estate is a local business, so you need a local homebuyer guide. How is it different to be a first-time homebuyer in Illinois? What programs are available on the state and federal levels to help you find an affordable mortgage option? We break it all down for you in this guide.

At First Bank, we love making great things happen for our mortgage customers. We know you’ll be thrilled to find a permanent home here in Southeast Illinois, where Carmi and surrounding towns provide great options for raising a family and enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.

When you’re ready to start the mortgage application process, our knowledgeable mortgage team is here to make great things happen for you!

Our knowledgeable mortgage team is here to make great things happen for you!

Median home prices in Illinois

For the entire state of Illinois, the median home price is $183,700, according to BestPlaces.net. Here in Southeast Illinois, median prices are lower than the state average:

In Southeast Illinois, median prices are lower than the state average.

If you aim for a 20 percent down payment, which lets you avoid paying for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) on a conventional loan, you’d need to save between $8,600 to $13,940.

You’ll also need about $300 to pay for a professional home inspection on your desired house once your offer is accepted. While the inspection isn’t mandatory, it helps you understand the condition the home is in. If there are any problems the seller didn’t disclose, you could potentially re-negotiate the sales price or ask the seller to make the needed repairs before closing.

Finally, you’ll need to pay about 1.94 percent to 2.9 percent of the sales price in closing costs. As your lender, First Bank will provide a breakdown of final closing costs prior to your closing date.

Federal homebuyer assistance programs

In addition to Illinois-specific help for first-time buyers, there are several federal agencies with home loan programs that can make it easier or more affordable to buy your first house.

several federal agencies have home loan programs that can make it easier or more affordable to buy your first house

The Federal Housing Agency (FHA)

FHA Loans are open to all eligible buyers, including first-time homeowners. You may be able to qualify for an FHA mortgage with a lower minimum credit score and down payment than a conventional mortgage.

Department of Veterans Affairs

If you are an active service member or veteran, you may be able to obtain a no-down-payment VA loan mortgage.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

If you’re looking to buy your first home in an eligible rural or suburban area, you may be able to get a USDA loan without a down payment.

How to get preapproved for a mortgage

Now that you have a basic understanding of the costs and mortgage options associated with first-time home buying, the next step is to get a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender like First Bank.

Why pre-approval matters

Many buyer’s agents want to see a pre-approval letter before they start taking you out to see homes. Sellers also look more favorably on offers that are backed by pre-approval because it shows that a lender has reviewed your finances and credit score and found you eligible to borrow x amount of money with a specific type of home loan.

Many buyer's agents want to see a pre-approval letter before they start taking you out to see homes

Pre-approvals usually last for about three months. If you don’t buy a home within that timeframe, you can get a new pre-approval.

To start the pre-approval process, contact our Illinois-based mortgage loan specialist.

First Bank Makes Great Things Happen for first-time homebuyers in Illinois!

Our Southeastern Illinois-based Mortgage Loan Specialists are here to make your home buying experience as smooth as possible. Let us be your local resource for real estate and mortgage loan expertise. We can help you figure out how much house you can afford and we’ll walk you through every step of the mortgage application process. Visit our Mortgage Loans page to learn more, speak with a lender, or apply now.

Let us be your local resource for real estate and mortgage loan expertise

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