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The Morgantown First-Time Homebuyers Guide

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Buying your first home is a wonderful milestone, but it can also feel daunting. That’s why we created this guide just for you. First Exchange Bank has been helping West Virginians and residents of Morgantown become homeowners for nearly a century. In this article, we’ll simplify the process by breaking down the steps: from figuring out how much you can afford to saving for a down payment, choosing a neighborhood, finding a home you love and can afford, budgeting for life as a new homeowner, and more. 

Buying Your First Home in Morgantown: How much can you afford?

As the home of West Virginia University’s flagship campus and its popular Mountaineers football team, Morgantown is a desirable place to live. Just take a look at all the awards the city has received in recent years, including Top STEM City in West Virginia, Top 100 Places To Live, and Best Places To Raise a Family. WVU, an R1 Research University, and Morgantown have also received national recognition and rankings.

The median home price in Morgantown is $226,500, according to BestPlaces, which also notes that “recent job growth is positive” and “Morgantown’s cost of living is 10% lower than the U.S. average.” And, in good news for first-time buyers, Realtor.com characterizes the real estate market in Morgantown as “balanced,” meaning that the supply and demand of houses for sale is about equal. 

For more information on calculating how much money you need to buy a house in West Virginia, check out our recent blog about the cost of buying a house in West Virginia. 

Before you start, ask yourself how much house you can afford - close up of a person using a calculator and taking notes

Take stock of your financial situation.

Now that you have a sense of the current real estate market and how much you can afford to spend on a home, it’s time to assess your finances. Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers:

What is your monthly income? 

Calculate your monthly income to see how what your budget will look like. A good rule of thumb is to keep your monthly housing payment (whether rent or mortgage) at 30 percent or less of your monthly income. 

How much house can you afford? 

Remember that your estimated monthly mortgage payment based on sales price doesn’t account for home insurance and taxes. So, your actual payment may be a few hundred dollars more. Use our home financing calculators to help you determine your home buying budget.

How much do you have saved for a down payment? 

First Exchange Bank can finance up to 89.99% of the home purchase price. Our local, in-house lending also means lower closing costs on your mortgage.  

What are your other monthly expenses? 

If you don’t already have these listed in your budget, write down your monthly recurring expenses such as loan and credit card payments, estimated grocery costs, utilities, etc. Keep in mind that your budget will likely change once you become a homeowner. If you’re not already budgeting, start a budget now. 

First Exchange Bank can finance up to 89.99% of the purchase price of the home - image of a wooden house and a set of keys on top of $100 bills

Now, familiarize yourself with the costs associated with buying a home (besides the mortgage):

  • Down Payment: As mentioned above, First Exchange Bank can finance up to 89.99% of the purchase price.

  • Inspection: A professional home inspection is recommended after your offer is accepted. This will protect you from discovering unknown issues after you move in. The average cost of a home inspection in West Virginia is $300 for a 2,000 square foot house. 

  • Closing Costs: You can expect to pay about 2-5% of your total loan amount. 

Finally, check your credit score and history. You can obtain a free credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus here. To check your credit score, see if you have free access to it through a credit card account. If not, you can purchase a report from any of the credit bureaus. Generally, you want to have a credit score of at least 620 before you apply for a mortgage. 

Understand the different types of mortgage loans 

As your local mortgage lender in Morgantown, First Exchange Bank offers the following types of home loans for first-time buyers:

  • Fixed-Rate Mortgages: Lock in your interest rate now and enjoy predictable monthly payments over the life of your loan with a fixed interest rate.

  • Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM Loan): Enjoy a low introductory rate for a fixed period of time; then, when the introductory period ends, your rate may adjust up or down depending on the index.

Not sure whether a fixed or variable-rate loan is right for you? Read our blog article on “How To Choose Between a Variable and Fixed Rate Mortgage” 

Understand the available types of mortgage loans in Morgantown -image of a house keychain, a pen, calculator and a paper that says mortgage

How does the Mortgage Application Process Work? 

When you come to First Exchange Bank, we’ll walk you through the mortgage application process step-by-step.

  • Choosing the right type of mortgage loan to meet your needs

  • Submitting supporting documentation for your mortgage application

  • Understanding the appraisal process to determine your home’s value

  • Understanding closing costs and what you need to bring on Closing day

Contact our Morgantown mortgage lending team to learn more about applying for your first home loan in Morgantown.

Ready to buy your first home in Morgantown?

At First Exchange Bank, we strive to make your Morgantown first-time homebuyers experience as smooth and simple as possible. Apply for a mortgage online from the comfort and convenience of wherever you are! Have questions or want to fill out the application at a branch? Learn more about mortgage loans in Morgantown or contact one of our Morgantown mortgage lenders today! And, for all the single ladies out there, check out our blog article on buying a home when you’re single. 

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