New data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)'s monthly Builder Application Survey indicates that new home purchase applications are up by 11 percent month-over-month. The survey also found that the average loan size decreased, possibly due to a large number of first-time buyers purchasing lower-priced "starter" homes.

These strong numbers were driven by a continued trend of low mortgage rates and a steady demand for housing. This is great news for buyers who have been waiting for the right time to buy, because now may be the time to start your search and take the leap to homeownership.

If you think you're ready, but aren't quite sure where to start, you'll want to first establish a relationship with a lender. We'd love to be your partner in homeownership. Before you begin searching for your dream home, you'll want to get a full picture of your current financial profile (income, expenses, debt and assets) and do a deep dive into your credit score to see where you can improve your score and where errors might need to be corrected.

Another first, but very important step, is learning which type of loan programs are available to you. As a first-time homebuyer, we offer a wide variety of options to fit almost every unique financial situation. Programs such as FHA loans and VA loans may allow you to get into a home for a smaller down payment and with a less-than-perfect history.

FHA Loans
FHA home loans allow buyers who may not qualify for a conventional mortgage to get a loan. This type of loan offers smaller down payments, has flexible income requirements and lenient credit criteria. FHA loans are available for single-family and multi-family homes and pose less of a risk to the issuing bank because the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guarantees against default.

VA Loans
VA home loans are available to military personnel who have served either 181 days during peacetime, 90 days during war or spouses or servicemen who went missing or passed away in action during their service. These types of loans require no down payment and were established to help Veterans and their families find housing. The Veterans Administration provides insurance to lenders in case a loan is defaulted on, which allows lenders to offer lower interest rates than a conventional home loan can offer.

As you begin the process of buying a home, you'll find yourself needing to make a lot of important decisions. That's where we come in! We're here to help you achieve your goals, and will be here every step of the way. Contact us today to get started.