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5 Tips for the First-Time Homebuyer in Dallas

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The Dallas metropolitan area possesses some of the best locations for home buyers in the entire United States. Nine suburbs of Dallas rank in the top 20 on a Wallet Hub report that compares living environment, real estate market rate and housing affordability, with two other Dallas suburbs falling just within the top 25. That makes the DFW area a great place for prospective first-time home buyers to target. However, there are some important tips for first-time home buyers in Dallas to keep in mind.

TDHCA First-Time Buyer Programs

Most states offer first-time home buyers assistance when considering their first home purchase. The organization in Texas that offers this assistance is the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs. The TDHCA offers both 30-year fixed low-interest loans and allows five percent of that to help with the down payment. A second way of assisting first-time home buyers is to offer up to $2,000 every year to help with special federal income tax credit. The TDHCA not only helps first-time home buyers, but also people who have not owned a home in the last three years. One other requirement is that the prospective homeowner's credit score is above 640, so make sure to keep an eye on your credit.

Look At The Suburbs

While living in many areas around Dallas might be expensive, it is the suburbs that rank so highly in the Wallet Hub report. Allen ranks as the second best area in America to live in, ranking fourth overall in living environment and 14th in housing affordability. This is where a very important decision comes into effect. A suburb like Grand Prairie ranks 15th in the nation in the real estate market, so that might be a great place to live when considering home value in the future. It also ranks high on living environment, but is 58th in affordability. Figure out how much money you have to spend now, whether you intend to sell the home soon, and how important the living environment is. Regardless, there is a Dallas suburb that should fit any goal.

Don't Forget The Home Inspectors

Do not skimp out on paying a home inspector to completely examine any prospective home before purchasing it. There are plenty of options here to choose from, but try to stick with someone affiliated with a major organization like the Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors. Don't just listen to the inspector the real estate agent chooses, and demand to be on-site while the inspection is underway so you can ask the inspector questions. If the inspector doesn't allow you to attend, use a different home inspector.

Hire A Dallas Real Estate Agent

It is important to use a Dallas real estate agent, especially if you are new to the DFW area. There are a lot of homes in the Dallas area and its suburbs. There are a lot of hidden issues, from school districts to homeowner associations to possible danger signs like flooding areas. A Dallas real estate agent knows about these danger points and can help steer you from them. They can also be used to help find mortgage loans, first-time buyers plans, inspector recommendations and more. The best thing is that the person selling the home is paying the agent, and not you.

Beware Of Homeowner Associations

Some people believe in the local homeowners associations, but more and more people have grown disillusioned with these organizations. For anyone who has never lived in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, there are plenty of problems. They can personally fine a homeowner who allows their grass to grow above a certain point. The HOA can disallow a person the right to add shrubs or a small rock garden to the front of their home. They can even prohibit making changes inside a home, such as remodeling a bathroom or kitchen. Some of these associations can actually, legally, foreclose on a homeowner and kick them out of their own home. Find out if the home you want to buy has a homeowners association, what their rules are, how much they charge you just to live there, and if that is something you are willing to accept. There are plenty of homes in other areas to avoid these groups.

Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos.

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