First-Time Homebuyer in Yountville: 6 Things to Know

First-Time Homebuyer in Yountville: 6 Things to Know

  • Carolyn Roberts
  • 07/26/23

Tucked away in the heart of Napa Valley, Yountville is a charming little town with a walkable environment that practically begs you to move in and stay forever. Peaceful, tranquil, and friendly, the little city just south of Saint Helena and just north of Napa is couched between Mount Hood and Lake Berryessa, with plenty of nature to access, and is only a short trip from major metropolitan cities like Vallejo and Santa Rosa.

It is the perfect escape for anyone looking to stay close to the Bay Area but still feel a million miles away. Fine dining, boutique shopping, and open-air markets make for a sweet small-town feel you will love. It is no surprise buyers are aching to settle down here. If you are a first-time homebuyer in Yountville, here are a few things to help you on your real estate journey.

1. Get pre-approved

The first and most important thing you can do anytime you want to buy a home is to get pre-approved. Find a lender you trust, usually through word of mouth or online testimonials, and get the ball rolling. Typically, the lender will ask for your background and current income information.

You’ll need your social security number, birth date, and current address to run your credit score. Then, you’ll also need to provide proof of your income and any savings you have. All of these factors will contribute to your pre-approval amount. This amount will become the top of your budget. Now, you have negotiation power and something for your real estate agent to work with.

2. Work with a trusted real estate agent

A real estate agent will not take you seriously until you have a pre-approval. Real estate agents work hard to get you exactly what you want. To invest this kind of time and energy, your realtor will want to know that you have been pre-approved by a reputable lender.

Next, you will sit with your realtor to discuss your checklist. What are your must-haves, and what are your nice-to-haves? Your realtor will know the right questions to ask, and then they will show you houses that match your list.

To find a real estate agent, make sure you either get a word-of-mouth reference from a trusted source or do your due diligence and read testimonials and online reviews. There is a real estate agent for every area and every kind of property, so look for a realtor who specializes in your area and the type of property you want.

3. Decide what down payment makes sense for you

It is a myth that everyone should or must put down 20% on their home when they make a real estate purchase. It is simply not true, and furthermore, it does not make sense for everyone in every situation. The truth is that when you put 20% down on your home, you will save money on interest payments and on private mortgage insurance (PMI), which you only have to have if you owe more than 80% of the home’s appraised value.

However, suppose all you have is 20%. In that case, you may be better off putting down 10% and paying the PMI and more interest payments to keep a cushion of savings in the bank in the event of a costly repair or other expense you need to make after you buy the home. It is almost always a better idea to have cash flow than to have all of your money tied up in your home. Consider what works best for you, and make this decision before you buy the house.

4. Calculate property taxes

Don’t forget to calculate property taxes when figuring out your mortgage payment. Often, you can build your property taxes into your mortgage payments, which makes them more manageable but will raise your monthly payments. In Yountville, the property taxes are .58%, which is, on average, about $3,342 per year, figuring the median home price in Napa at $571,500. That’s an extra $278.50 each month, and if your home price is higher than the median, it’s more than that.

5. Educate yourself on the best loan for you

Just because you’ve been pre-approved doesn’t mean you’re locked into any specific home loan. Once you find the home of your dreams, you can hunt for the best loan for you. Conventional loans are loans with no assistance from the government that typically have a 15, 20, 25, or 30-year term and offer a set mortgage payment at a fixed interest rate. There are a few variations for specific cases, like a variable interest rate loan, called an ARM, which you can discuss with your lender.

FHA loans offer assistance from the federal government. If you are a school teacher, a police officer, a firefighter, or a number of other professions in the service industry, you may qualify for assistance. There are also first-time homebuyer programs that help you get into your first house. Finally, you can look into a VA loan if you are a current or former military member.

6. Consider a homebuyer education course

To help you understand the types of loans available to you, and the responsibilities that come with buying a home for the first time, you can take a course on homebuyer education. Not only will the course provide you with all the information you need to be a good homeowner, but the course may also be a requirement to qualify for certain assistance programs. It’s a win-win.

Contact Carolyn Roberts for more tips on becoming a homeowner

Finally, when you’re ready to search for your first home in Yountville Carolyn Roberts. She has been working in real estate since 1978 and has extensive Napa Valley real estate experience and expertise that cannot be beaten. She is here to help you find the perfect home for sale in Yountville or the surrounding areas, and has always exceeded expectations. Contact Carolyn today.

Work With Carolyn

My experience, knowledge, and perseverance give buyers and sellers the true advantage of excellence. I am determined to negotiate the very best price for you and to provide the service and information to enable you to make decisions wisely.

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