Imagine that you finally decide to take the plunge and become a happy homeowner after years of saving, numerous open houses, and protracted conversations with mortgage bankers.

The thrill of purchasing your first house is an unforgettable experience that represents a key turning point in your life.

However, as time goes on and things change, you could start to wonder what many first-time house buyers wonder:

“When am I considered a first-time home buyer again?”

In this blog post, you can dive into the 7 items that a first-time home buyer like yourself will want to know before going ahead to seek out a home and signing any papers.

When am I a first-time home buyer in California

When are you considered a first-time home buyer again?

In California, one typical requirement is the “Three-Year Rule” to qualify as a first-time home buyer.
This rule states that if you haven’t owned and lived in your primary residence for the previous three years, you are a first-time home buyer again.

In other words, if you sold or transferred your previous property and it has been three or more years since you last owned a home, you might be eligible to reclaim your first-time buyer status.

However, depending on the programs and incentives of interest to you, different standards may apply when determining when you qualify as a first-time home buyer.

For example, The CalHFA’s first-time homebuyer programs see you as a first-time home buyer if you purchased your house three years ago or more but later sold it.

As a first-time home buyer, you are also able to take advantage of the benefits offered by the program.

Great news, isn’t it?

It just takes three years of not being an owner to return to the new owner position and enjoy all the perks that go along with it.
There is so much room for opportunity at this moment and I know thoughts are already popping into your head, but before you go crazy with ideas let’s go deeper into the whole ‘real estate’ idea and what it has to offer.

Can a first-time home buyer buy an investment property?

The short answer is YES!

The long answer is that you’ll have to keep in mind that the phrase “first-time home buyer” often refers to someone who is making their first purchase for their primary residence.

Can a first-time home buyer buy an investment property

Programs and incentives for first-time home buyers are frequently designed to help people buy a house for their use.

There are various regulations, financing choices, and factors to take into account when purchasing an investment property.

Investment properties are often bought with the hope of earning money from rentals or for future value. These properties could be residential rentals, apartment complexes, vacation houses, or commercial real estate.

When buying an investment property in California, keep the following considerations in mind:

1. Market Research: A thorough market analysis is essential before investing in real estate. Make sure you are making an informed choice by doing some research on the area, rental demand, possible rental income, vacancy rates, and overall investment possibilities.

2. Finance: A different loan type than a conventional mortgage for a primary dwelling may be necessary to finance an investment property. Lenders frequently have stricter rules and larger down payment requirements for investment properties, but we will talk more about that later.

3. Taxes: Owning an investment property has several tax repercussions, including rental income, depreciation, and potential deductions. To fully comprehend the unique tax concerns about investment properties in California, it is imperative to speak with a tax expert.

There can be alternative incentives, tax advantages, or programs available for real estate investors in California even though first-time home buyer programs might not immediately apply to investment homes.

Contacting a few local experts who specialize in investment properties can assist you in making an informed choice based on your finances and investment goals.

After getting the assistance you need to make a decision you can begin to dream a little and think of all that Money, Money, Money!

Can a first-time home buyer get a conventional loan?

A first-time homeowner can be approved for a conventional loan. Mortgages that are backed by the government (such as the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs) are not included in conventional loans. Instead, private lenders like banks, credit unions, and mortgage firms issue them.
Conventional Loan Agreement sign on the bank form

As a first-time home buyer, you must often fulfill the lender’s qualifying standards, which frequently include the following elements:

1. Credit Score: To approve a traditional loan, lenders typically seek a decent credit score. While each lender may have a different set of standards, a score of 620 or more is frequently regarded as the minimum.

2. Down payment: A down payment is often required for conventional loans, while the exact amount depends on your creditworthiness and the lending institution’s guidelines. It’s typical to need a down payment of between 3% and 5% of the buying price, while a greater down payment can assist reduce the loan-to-value ratio and possibly help you get better terms.

3. Debt-to-Income Ratio: Lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio, which contrasts your gross monthly income with your monthly debt payments. Greater financial stability is shown by a lower debt-to-income ratio, which may improve your chances of being approved for a traditional loan.

4. Employment and Income History: When determining your ability to repay the loan, lenders often look at your employment history and consistency of income. A history of stable jobs and income can enhance your eligibility for a conventional loan.

It’s crucial to remember that while conventional loans provide flexibility and a variety of possibilities, some lenders could have their unique standards and restrictions for first-time home purchasers.

So, it’s advised to shop around and compare offers from several lenders to discover the finest terms and rates that meet your requirements.

Additionally, programs that aid with down payments, subsidies, or other incentives may be available to first-time home purchasers, making homeownership more accessible.

Now, you may be wondering if the same rules apply when it comes on to investment properties. The short answer is no, while it is possible to get a conventional loan for an investment property the terms are different.
Investment properties are considered a higher risk for lenders and as such they can attract a much higher interest rate.
The following standards may apply to qualify for a conventional loan for an investment property:

1. Reserves and Cash Flow: Lenders could insist that borrowers have enough cash on hand to meet expenses like mortgage payments, upkeep, and prospective vacancies, as well as show that the investment property generates a positive cash flow.

2. Higher Down Payment: Compared to personal residences, lenders frequently demand a higher down payment for investment properties. For loans for investment properties, a down payment of 15% to 25% or more of the purchase price is typical.

3. Debt-to-Income Ratio: To guarantee that borrowers have the financial wherewithal to handle multiple mortgages or anticipated swings in rental income, lenders may set tougher debt-to-income ratio limits for loans for investment property.

4. Strong Credit Score: Borrowers looking for a conventional loan for an investment property often need to have a higher credit score. Although a score of 700 or more is frequently recommended, individual lender criteria may differ.

Can a first-time home buyer have a cosigner?

Yes, a cosigner can assist California first-time home buyers meet the requirements for a mortgage loan. For first-time home buyers who might not be able to meet the lender’s credit or income standards on their own, having a cosigner can be advantageous.
Business concept about LOAN WITH COSIGNER exclamation marks with

Consider the following important factors when choosing cosigners for first-time home buyers in California:

Qualification Strengthening: A cosigner can make the loan application stronger by supplying more money, more valuable possessions, or a better credit rating. By doing this, the borrower may have a better chance of securing mortgage approval and may be able to negotiate better loan terms.

2. Cosigner Responsibility and Liability: It’s critical to realize that cosigners are jointly responsible for debt repayment. The cosigner is legally required to repay the loan if the borrower is unable to make payments. The financial obligations and dangers associated should be understood by both the borrower and the cosigner.

3. Lender requirements: Each lender may have requirements about cosigners. They might evaluate the cosigner’s entire financial situation, stability of income, and creditworthiness. Along with the cosigner’s details, the lender will also assess the qualities of the principal borrower.

4. Evidence: To determine the cosigner’s eligibility and capacity to bear responsibility for the loan, the lender would often ask them to supply evidence, such as proof of income, bank statements, and credit history.

While having a cosigner might improve a borrower’s chances of approval, not all lenders accept cosigners for all loan programs.

Therefore, it is advised to speak with mortgage lenders or engage with a mortgage broker who can advise on the loan alternatives and specifications accessible to first-time home purchasers.

Does co-signing affect first-time home buyers?

Having a co-signer can affect a first-time buyer in many ways. The effects can be negative or positive based on how each party handles the loan. It is important to remember that however the loan is treated will affect both the first-time home buyer and the co-signer.

Here is a list of ways a co-signer can affect you:

1) Qualification: If a first-time home buyer has a poor credit history or a low income, having a co-signer might increase their chances of being approved for a mortgage loan.

The borrower’s loan application may be strengthened by the cosigner’s income and credit standing. It’s crucial to remember that the lender will assess the financial histories of both the borrower and the co-signer.

2) Future Borrowing Capacity: A co-signers future borrowing capacity may be impacted by their decision to co-sign a loan. When requesting more credit or loans, the co-signed loan may be taken into account as part of their entire debt responsibilities.

3) Credit impact: Co-signing a loan may influence both the borrower’s and the cosigner’s credit histories. Both credit reports will show the debt and missing or late payments might lower both credit scores. The co-signers credit history will also be impacted if the borrower defaults on the loan.

4) Responsibility: Co-signing entails accepting joint responsibility for loan repayment. The co-signer is now responsible for repaying the loan if the first-time home buyer is unable to make the mortgage payments.

The co-signer may suffer serious financial repercussions as a result, and the relationship between the borrower and the co-signer may suffer as a result.

Before getting into a co-signing agreement, it is essential for both the first-time home buyer and the co-signer to have an open and sincere discussion about their respective financial responsibilities, risks, and expectations.

To fully comprehend the effects and make an informed choice, it’s also advisable to speak with a financial counselor or mortgage specialist.

While having a co-signer can help a first-time home buyer, it’s crucial to think about the possible long-term effects on all individuals involved. The co-signing process can be effectively completed with careful money management and open communication.

How to find a realtor for a first-time home buyer?


You made it to one of the final questions a first-time home buyer would ask.

A crucial step in the home-buying process for a first-time buyer is finding a reputable and knowledgeable agent. Now you may be thinking ‘This is easy stuff; I can easily go on Google and look for realtors in my area.’

While it could be that easy to find a realtor, you can find yourself looking for hours and having no idea of how to choose one for your needs.

How to find a realtor for a first-time home buyer
Let’s dive deeper into this topic and I will highlight a few ways how to find a good realtor, as to choosing a great realtor we will go into that later.

The following steps will assist you in finding a realtor:

1. Ask for Referrals: Consult with friends, relatives, coworkers, or neighbors who have recently purchased a property to see if they can suggest a realtor, they had a good experience with. Personal referrals are useful since they come from someone you can trust.

2. Find realtors in your region by conducting an online search. Visit their websites, peruse their bios, and read any client endorsements. You may get a sense of their knowledge, experience, and level of client happiness from this.

3. Interview Several Realtors: Before making a choice, it is wise to speak with several realtors. Prepare a list of questions to ask during the interview to gauge their level of expertise, communication style, responsiveness, and comprehension of your needs as a first-time home buyer.

4. Look for Specialization: Take into account realtors who focus on assisting first-time home buyers. They might be better able to help you navigate the process because they are more familiar with the special demands and challenges of first-time purchasers.

5. Verify Credentials: Confirm that the realtor you select is authorized and registered in your state. Usually, the relevant state licensing board or regulatory organization can be used to verify this information.

6. Experience and Track Record: Take into account the realtor’s background in assisting first-time homebuyers. A knowledgeable broker who has a track record of helping first-time buyers may be better able to manage any potential challenges and offer helpful advice.

7. Communication and Compatibility: It’s critical to get along well with your realtor. Select an individual that makes you feel at ease and pays attention to your requirements and preferences. It’s essential to communicate clearly at every stage of the home-buying process.

8. Request Referrals: Request: Recommendations from potential realtors’ former first-time home-buying clients. Speak with those customers to learn their opinions of the realtor’s services and whether they would suggest them.

It’s crucial to work with someone you trust and feel at ease with because choosing the appropriate realtor is a personal decision.

Take your time, investigate potential realtors, and pick one who will help you complete the home-buying process and has your best interests in mind.

How to choose a realtor first-time home buyer?

Now we are at the last question!

With all this knowledge in hand, you must be prepared to start the process of purchasing your first house. You will have the opportunity to select a realtor in this final question, at which point you can begin the home-buying process.

How to choose a realtor first-time home buyer
Using all the points in how to find a realtor you will be able to narrow down to a handful of realtors that you believe can get the job done.

Finally choose the realtor you would like to use all boils down to choosing the one that matches all your requirements the best.

You can have a trusted advisor by your side who can easily negotiate the complexity of the real estate market, see to it that your demands are satisfied, and assist you in finding your dream house by carefully evaluating these characteristics and choosing a realtor who excels in each area.

A first-time home buyer’s path is packed with numerous concerns and inquiries. There is a lot to learn about, from knowing when one is no longer considered a first-time home buyer to investigating the possibility of buying an investment property and even studying the world of getting conventional loans or getting a cosigner.

Knowing the specific laws and possibilities that apply to California is crucial for residents of the state. Being knowledgeable may make a big difference, whether it’s finding out the requirements for first-time buyer programs, looking into the possibility of conventional loans, or getting advice on the use of cosigners.

Finding the ideal realtor is also crucial for a first-time home buyer’s success. Making an informed decision requires taking into account a variety of elements, including experience, communication abilities, reliability, and compatibility.

In the end, first-time homebuyers may confidently begin their homeownership journey with the correct information, assistance, and direction, securing a space they can call their own and laying the groundwork for their future.

Want to take a step closer to becoming a homeowner today?

Contact Bonaventura Group & Real Estate Inc. We are a real estate brokerage that sells residential and commercial properties. We are also licensed in loan processing and financing with the best direct lenders in the market.

We serve all of California’s Central Valley including but not limited to Fresno, Clovis, Madera, Hanford, Kingsburg, Merced, Oakhurst, Prather, Reedley, Selma, Visalia, Tulare, and Sanger.

Why rent?… When you can buy with Bonaventura Group & Real Estate Inc.

(559) 321-8114
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