Escrow closed on my house last week; I am officially a home-owner! It is a small 3-bedroom, 2-bath on .82 acres fenced with a two (ha, ha) car garage. I got it for $188,000. Yes, houses are still affordable if you live where nobody else wants to live.
Some lessons learned: The lender will want every last piece of financial documentation about the money you are pulling together. They are very uptight.
You have to buy house insurance and it pays to ask around and call a few different businesses in town.
It's like pushing against an elephant to get anything to move, but take active charge of your paperwork and check back on people constantly (or else they will feign ignorance).
I got a terrific deal: 5.125% on a 30-year fixed plus 3% cash thrown my way, because I am teacher working at an under-performing school.
Ideally you should come up with 20% of the down, but you know what?? Lenders want your business and will give you a bigger loan than you can practically afford if you have good credit.
GOOD CREDIT is critical – so pay all your bills on time!