Frequently Asked Home Buyer Questions

1Are there any first time home buyer programs?

Answer: Yes, Michigan does offer a first time home buyer program.

This program offers up to $7,500 down payment assistance. A minimum credit score of 640 is required and the maximum sales price is $224,500. To find out more information on this program, contact an experienced MI First Home Loan Officer.

2How much do I need for a down payment?

Answer: It depends on what type of loan you use. 


The most common down payment, especially for first time home buyers, is 3.5%. FHA loans are a popular choice among home buyers and only require 3.5% down. If you’re eligible for a VA loan or an USDA loan, you could put 0% down. That’s right, VA loans and USDA loans require no money down. Conventional loans typically are 20% down but some only require a 5% down payment.

3How high does my credit score need to be to buy a home?

Answer: 620+

A credit score of 620+ is recommended to purchase a home. If your credit score falls below 620, talk to your loan officer and ask if they have any possible options. Some lenders will approve buyers with a score under 620.

How much does a REALTOR® cost when buying a home?

Answer: Nothing. 

In most cases, you aren’t paying your REALTOR when you purchase a home. The sellers will pay their real estate agent a fee, and then that listing agent will pay the buyer’s agent a commission for bringing the buyer and facilitating the deal.

What fees come with buying a home?

Answer: Down Payment, Earnest Money, Closing Costs, Inspection 

Usually, the down payment is your largest fee when buying a home but don’t forget about the other fees. They can add up fast. For a detailed list of the common home buying fees, check out “How To Avoid Sticker Shock at the Closing Table?” Written by Andrew Fortune at GCH.

When do I get to move in?

Answer: The day you close. 

In most cases, you will receive the keys at closing and can move in asap. 

How long does it take to buy a home?

Answer: Around 45 days. 

After you find a home and have an accepted offer, it usually takes around 45 days to close on the home.

How much home can I afford?

Answer: You tell me. 

When figuring out if a home is affordable or not, it is important to look at a few things. Starting with your annual income and then looking at your monthly debt (credit card payments, car payments, student loans, etc.). Zillow offers a great tool to determine how much house you can afford. Check it out here: Affordability Calculator


How do I get a mortgage?

Answer: Find a mortgage lender.  

When looking for a mortgage lender, don’t stop at the first one. It’s always wise to shop your options. Ask your home owning friends and co-workers who they had a good experience with. Once you find a lender, they will be able to offer you multiple options for mortgage and get you pre-approved. A pre-approval shows you are serious buyer and speeds up the process once you do find your dream home!

What is an earnest money deposit (EMD)?

Answer: A deposit which shows the sellers you are serious about buying their home.  

An earnest money deposit is a deposit which is held in an escrow account. There’s no set amount for an EMD, the higher the EMD, the stronger the offer will look. The amount of the EMD is subtracted from the buyer’s total costs at the closing table.  

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