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Buying A Home

Buying and owning a home requires a substantial investment of time, money and energy, so you should make your decision to buy a house carefully. The information below can help answer some basic questions and guide you through the process.  

  • Question: How much should I spend on a home?
    This is an essential first number because it’s the one number that probably won’t change during the homebuying process. How much home a homebuyer could afford is based on their income at the time of purchase. Going above that payment could lead to budget troubles down the road. TIP: In general, homebuyers should spend no more than three times the buyer(s) gross income on a home. In the numbered steps below, we recommend visiting with a housing counselor and completing a homebuyer education course. When you meet with a housing counselor and go over your finances and budget, this is an excellent time to discuss this question.
  • Question: What credit score do I need to get a mortgage?
    It's important to understand that ANDP doesn't set a credit score requirement to purchase one of our homes. The lender you select will determine the required credit score. For that reason, we recommend you visit our Financing page, learn about the many types of mortgage loan products and speak with a number of lenders about their requirements. Knowing the credit score number affects the mortgage rate. Lenders are slowly moving their credit score targets to levels where more homebuyers could access a low-rate mortgage. However, if the homebuyer’s credit score is below the threshold, the mortgage will cost more, if it is available at all. TIP: Be wary about offers to “repair your credit.”
  • 1. Get your finances in order.
    Get your finances in order. Find out what your credit report and credit score is and correct any inaccuracies. Your credit score will determine your ability to borrow money. A credit score reflects how much money you owe, how often you use credit and whether you pay your bills on time. Lenders look at factors called the four Cs of credit: credit history (timely bill paying), capital (money available for a down-payment), capacity (income versus debt), and collateral (the value and condition of the house).
  • 2. Visit a housing counselor and complete homebuyer training.
    Owning a home requires a substantial investment of time, money and energy, so you should make your decision to buy a house carefully. Housing counselors credentialed through a nonprofit agency provide objective advice and unbiased recommendations.To purchase any home from ANDP or to participate in any of our affiliated down payment assistance programs, all homebuyers must complete a HUD-approved homebuyer education course. These courses are more than a requirement, they are extremely beneficial in understanding the budgeting, credit, the homebuying process and how to care for your home after the purchase. This class is most frequently an all day class offered on Saturdays. ANDP is not a homebuyer education provider. To find an approved homebuyer agency near you visit our Homebuyer Education page.
  • 3. Look for down payment assistance programs.
    The down payment is the amount of cash you pay toward the purchase price. Depending upon your household income and other factors, you may qualify for down payment assistance. There are many programs that could provide you with down payment and closing cost assistance. Some of our homes listed on this site are paired with down payment assistance. Others are not. To learn more about down payment assistance offered through ANDP and other resources for assistance, visit our Down Payment Assistance page.
  • 4. Find the right mortgage product for you and get prequalified.
    There are many types of mortgage loan products. Many people use FHA mortgage products because of the lower down payment requirement. Did you know there are many types of mortgage loans products? In addition to FHA, there are also 203(k), Conventional loans, VA loans for Veterans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also offer their own loan products. Many homebuyers are not aware that banks often have their own portfolio loan products - loans that are unique to their bank. These products sometimes work with lower credit scores and sometimes offer lower down payment requirements. Purchasing one of our homes requires homebuyers to use one of our approved lenders for their home mortgage. Start the process by visiting our Financing page. Reach out to our approved lenders and ask them to pre-qualify you for a mortgage and to discuss their loan portfolio products that may work for you. In fact, speak with multiple lenders to ensure have an understanding of the many types of mortgage products they offer.
  • 5. Work with a Real Estate professional.
    The process involved with the purchase of a home can be very complicated. You will need the assistance of a real estate professional - and especially one that has experience in affordable housing programs. These professionals will help guide you through the homebuying process! The process includes finding the home, getting an inspection, getting an appraisal, making an offer, preparing for closing, and meeting the requirements of home buyer assistance programs! You will appreciate having a trained real estate professional to guide you through the process! Visit our real estate professional page for more tips and contact information.
  • 6. Other Things to Consider
    Carefully select a location. Research area schools, property tax rates, insurance rates, and crime statistics. When you buy a home, you are making an investment, and the neighborhood is a prime factor in determining how good an investment your home turns out to be. Spend time thinking about things that may be important. Get a professional home inspection. When you make an offer to the seller to purchase a home, you should include a condition, or contingency, for a home inspection that indicates no significant problems. Don’t rush! Sometimes enormous time pressures are put on homebuyers to race through the deal. It is easy to be blinded to “bad deals” when different parties apply pressure. Purchase contracts and loan documents are legally binding documents. If you are rushed to sign such documents, you could get locked into prices or terms that are not in your best interest. Homeownership always costs more than you think it will. Many first-time homebuyers are surprised by the cost of basic maintenance. Financial experts recommend building an annual emergency fund that is equal to three months’ worth of living expenses.
  • 7. After you close on your home, protect your investment."
    Your home purchase will be one of the most important investments of your life. Unlike a rental situation where the landlord or property owner is responsible for upkeep and repairs when you own the home, these become your responsibilities. To ensure your home remains safe, comfortable, complies with county/city housing code, and grows in value, check out our post-purchase tips on: Homestead Exemption, Post-Purchase Counseling, Home Warranties, Homeowner’s Insurance, Home Maintenance, Property Taxes, and Foreclosure Prevention. Post-Closing Tips

Important Questions & Steps in the Process

ANDP is proud to be a Charter Member of the NeighborWorks network of community development organizations. We're one of 240+ organizations across America working to make the dream of homeownership a reality for low- and moderate-income families. 
Check out these Homebuying Tips from NeighborWorks America. 
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