financing

Home Buying Checklist for First-Time Buyers

For first-time home buyers, the process can seem a little overwhelming. That’s why we’ve developed a comprehensive checklist to guide you every step of the way.

Assess your finances

Buying a home is likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make. It makes sense that a thorough assessment of your finances is a logical place to begin. One of the first things to consider is how much you have saved up for a down payment. The traditional rule of thumb is to put down 20% of the home’s value. However, this usually isn’t necessary. You’ll find that many lenders are willing to work with home buyers with a much lower down payment. Montchanin Builders, for example, partners with Cardinal Financial, which offers custom financing with flexible down payment options.

In addition to considering your savings, you’ll want to evaluate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. For the purpose of determining your credit score, your DTI is exactly what it sounds like: the sum total of your debts (loans, credit cards, etc.) compared to your income. However, when buying a home, you’ll want to include all recurring bills in the “debts” category. Add up all of your monthly expenses and divide that figure by your monthly income to figure out your DTI. Ideally, your DTI shouldn’t be higher than 43%. The lower it is, the better.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Once you have a clearer picture of your finances, you’ll want to obtain pre-approval for a mortgage from a lender. It’s often recommended that home buyers obtain pre-approval before checking out the homes on the market. This enables you to more easily identify the available homes that you can afford.

Meet with a real estate agent

After securing pre-approval from a mortgage lender, it’s time to meet with a real estate agent. Of course, you can scout listings on your own, but it’s still helpful to have a realtor. These professionals are highly experienced with property evaluations and can help you consider the various pros and cons of each home and neighborhood you check out.

Start your home search

These days, the initial home viewing is usually done digitally. You can take virtual tours of available homes to narrow down your list. Then, visit open houses or schedule viewings. You may want to clear your phone’s gallery, as you’ll want to take plenty of pictures of the properties you view. You’ll also want to bring along a notebook and jot down notes about your likes and dislikes regarding each property.

Purchase your new home

Once you’ve finally chosen the home and neighborhood of your dreams, it’s time to make it yours! Talk to your realtor about the next steps in securing your home such as making an offer, including a deposit and more. At Montchanin Builders, our dedicated sales team will help you in determining the best floorplan, features and homesites available – walking you through every step of the process!

View new homes in northern Delaware from Montchanin Builders

Montchanin Builders strives to make the home selection and buying process as easy and hassle-free as possible. Visit our Sales Center and Model Home in our master-planned community of Darley Green—a beautiful, tree-lined neighborhood near the heart of Wilmington, Delaware. With so many wide-open spaces, you’ll have trouble believing that you’re just a short stroll away from incredible community amenities, including shops, restaurants, and transportation. Call today to schedule a tour of our move-in ready homes and inquire about our special financing offers.

Additional resources for home buyers:

4 Things Homebuyers Should Look for in a Lender

When you’re in the market for a new home, much of your time is spent thinking about the ideal location, the square footage, or even your decorating options. Choosing the right home loan partner, however, is equally as important. That’s one reason why so many homebuyers in Delaware choose to work with Montchanin Builders—we’ve partnered with Cardinal Financial, one of the nation’s premier home lenders.

Cardinal Financial makes the pre-approval and home financing process quicker and easier than you’d think! Call us today to learn about attractive financing options for purchasing the gorgeous move-in ready townhomes and condos at the master-planned community of Darley Green.

Select a lender who walks you through the process.

If you’re a first-time home buyer, the closing process can be stressful! There is a lot of new terminology to digest, for example, and you might not know the difference between escrow and earnest money or between liquidity and equity. You need a loan officer who has plenty of experience working with first-time home buyers, and who will walk you through the process step by step.

At Montchanin Builders, our preferred loan officer, Katherine Dunckley, is dedicated to providing unsurpassed customer service. She specializes in working with first-time home buyers, and will gladly help you understand all aspects of the home lending process.

Choose a mortgage originator

Not all mortgage brokers are mortgage originators, which is another reason why home buyers prefer to work with Cardinal Financial. This company is a mortgage originator, which means they provide their own financing. Cardinal Financial can underwrite, close, and fund your entire home loan.

Look for a lender with an accessible digital platform

The process of applying for a mortgage can get complicated. It requires a great deal of documentation, and you’ll have some choices to make. It’s best to choose a lender that offers an easily accessible digital platform, like Cardinal Financial. With their online portal, homebuyers can upload the necessary documentation digitally—cutting down on trips to the office. They can also review their customized to-do list to ensure they stay on track with the process, and they can check on the loan status at a glance.

Select a lender with flexible home loan options

Flexibility is crucial when it comes to taking out a home loan, as different home buyers have different needs. The home loan option that works well for your new neighbor may not fit your needs. Another great aspect of working with Cardinal Financial is their wide range of flexible home loan options, so you can choose what best fits your finances and preferences.

Check out new homes in Northern Delaware

Are you looking for move-in ready homes in Delaware that offer proximity to major amenities and transportation hubs, yet are also surrounded by wide open, green spaces? Look no further than the walkable community of Darley Green by Montchanin Builders. In Wilmington, DE, Darley Green is known for its beautiful, modern townhomes and condos at affordable price points.

To learn more about moving into Darley Green, contact Montchanin Builders today to schedule a tour! We’re proud to partner with Katherine Dunckley of Cardinal Financial to make the home-buying process as easy as possible for our valued home buyers.

Additional resources for home buyers:

money for house

5 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Before Buying a Home

Remember the days when you wished you paid more attention to your grade point average in high school when it came time to apply to colleges? Well, post-graduation, you may experience the same anxiety about your credit score if you haven’t taken steps to optimize it prior to applying for a mortgage loan. The good news? It is relatively easy to improve your score if you take some simple steps.

Here’s some more good news: Montchanin Builders has partnered with one of the most highly-respected mortgage lenders in the country, Supreme Lending, to provide custom financing for our amazing collection of new construction homes and award-winning communities in Delaware. Regardless of what your credit score is, we invite you to contact Montchanin Builders to learn about our special financing options, which let you take advantage of some of the industry’s lowest rates and closing costs.

Why Worry About Your Credit?

“A good credit score makes life more affordable,” says Bruce McClary, vice president of communications for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “Even when you don’t need a good score in the moment, you should be doing things to help you build toward the best credit you can have.”

The mortgage professionals Montchanin Builders has partnered with know a good credit score goes beyond the ability to get a housing loan at the best terms — it can also save you substantial dollars on necessities like utilities or a cell phone plan. If you are considering one of the new homes in Delaware, read on for sage advice.

How Your Credit Score Works

Your credit score is determined using several types of data, including your payment history, how much credit you have and length of credit history.

Here are five steps the pros suggest to help improve your score and get back on the bright side of borrowing.

  1. Know thyself.

Many people don’t realize you can check your credit report for free once a year from each of the three main credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. However, your score won’t be included on these free reports — you’ll usually have to pay a fee to see it.

Third-party websites like 3freescores.com and creditkarma.com can provide a simulated score at no cost. While it’s not exactly the same number that lenders see, it should give you a pretty good idea of where you stand.

  1. Pay. Your. Bills. NOW.

Your payment history is the single biggest factor in determining your credit score. Lenders are reluctant to give money to someone who has a history of missed payments.

Paying a bill more than 30 days late can drag down your score. “One single missed payment can drop your score anywhere from 100 to 300 points,” said McClary.

If you experienced a time where money was tight and you were late with some payments, here’s your opportunity to turn things around. Set a strict budget and start a habit of paying your bills on time. If you had extenuating circumstances, such as a medical illness and bills have gone to collections, take the opportunity to reach out to the bureaus to explain the situation.

It may not help – but it can’t hurt.

  1. Take charge of your debt.

Keeping your balances low will help raise your credit score. The goal? Keep your debt utilization (the amount of available credit you actually use) as low as possible.

A good rule of thumb is to never let the balance be more than 30% of the credit limit — of any one card or in total. If you are carrying a balance on any revolving accounts, make a plan to get them paid off as soon as possible.

  1. No credit? Get some.

While it’s not necessary to have a vault of credit cards, having one or two that you use responsibly will boost your score.

If you don’t have a credit card, we recommend opening an account and making a small purchase each month and paying it off. One option for the credit-challenged are “secured cards,” in which you pay a deposit up front which you then charge against to build a history.

  1. Patience is a virtue.

Remember: good credit scores don’t just appear magically – they take work. What’s more, the positive effects of your efforts could take a few months to show in your score.

Custom Financing For New Construction Homes in Wilmington, DE

We are proud to partner with Supreme Lending. Ranked #33 in the Top 100 Mortgage Companies in America, Supreme Lending is known for its time-honored philosophy of “building customers for life.” Their “old school” way of doing business is testament to why the majority of Supreme’s clients come from referrals from satisfied customers and real estate professionals who know a Supreme Lending sale is as good as done.

We invite you to go on a tour of our move-in ready homes in Wilmington, DE and meet with our mortgage lender to see how you can make your dream a reality.

More Resources:

  1. Time, “7 Ways to Improve Your Credit,” http://time.com/money/collection-post/2791082/7-ways-to-improve-your-credit/
  2. Washington Post, “How to Improve Your Credit Score,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2018/06/07/how-to-improve-your-credit-score/