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First Time Home Buyer

If you are interested in buying your first home, don't allow myths to dissuade you from trying.

The truth is that with home prices increasing, it's a little more difficult for the first-time homeowner simply based on price. However, with so many options available, that doesn't mean you can't qualify for a mortgage loan. You just need to know what to plan for and what questions to ask.

Studies show that many potential homeowners believe they can't buy a house when in fact, there is strong possibility that they can. Close to 15% of people living in the United States state they would like to buy a home within the next few years but believe from a financial perspective, they won't be able to. Another 10% state they can afford a home but for other reasons, probably won't buy for a while.

Here are some myths:

In order to qualify for a house, you need 20% down

Lenders are required by law to provide you with the best possible rate for your loan

You can't qualify for a house if you've been with your current employer less than five years

Your credit must be perfect

Mortgage interest is not tax deductible

The truth is these are just myths. Now for the truth:

More and more innovative mortgage packages are being created, offering the borrowers options between 3% and 5% down. Some lenders offer ZERO DOWN, if you have good credit. For first-time buyers, it's in your best interest to do some serious comparison-shopping.

Every lender works with its own rates bases on their standards as well as the type of loan being considered. Rates change literally every day so once you've made the decision to buy a house, check rates with more than one lender and check on a daily basis.

Job stability is important but the five-year rule is merely a myth. For example, if you have worked in public relations or some other industry for 10 years but have had three jobs in that time, because you've stayed within the same business, lenders will often consider this as continuous employment, especially if you've made advancements. In addition, solid credit and a larger down payment can compensate for work history in some instances.

It's true that credit is very important when qualifying for any loan. However, if you have been out of a bankruptcy for two years and can provide a good letter of explanation to the lender, they will usually accept that. If your credit is in real bad shape, consider a credit counseling service to help you get back on track. Generally, this can be done in as little as 12 to 18 months.

As you make your comparisons of the financial benefits of renting versus owning, be sure to consider tax deductions. When you buy a home, the closing costs, mortgage interest, and points are all tax deductible.