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Phoenix, Arizona, is an excellent city for homeowners looking to find their forever home. It offers plenty of activities along with seemingly endless sunshine.

Of course, as inviting as the city is, the current market can be incredibly intimidating for first-time homebuyers. Here are some tips to help you get the perfect home for you and your family.

1. Utilize FHA Loans

You have probably heard that, with the current state of the economy and the constantly rising cost of living, fewer and fewer Americans are finding themselves able to purchase a home.

If you have a poor debt-to-income ratio or a credit score below the minimum average required to get approved for a standard mortgage, you could benefit from using FHA loans. These loans are designed to help people not qualify for conventional home loans.

These types of loans have a minimum credit score requirement of 500 points, offer lower down payments, and are much more flexible when examining your debt-income-ratio, typically only looking for proof of at least two years of employment history to approve. Many people need to become more familiar with this loan option, thinking instead that they cannot qualify for loans and giving up on buying a home altogether.

2. Budget

Once you know how much money you must work with, you must set a firm budget. This way, you don’t look at homes you ultimately can not afford. It is wise to plan to look for homes that are a little below your budget, just in case you face any unexpected repair costs down the line or any other unforeseen setbacks like layoffs or the inability to work due to injury.

Giving yourself a cushion can keep you from losing your home in these challenging times.

3. Decide What You Want

Before you start looking at properties, you should make lists to help you sort out and decide on the most important home features to you when it comes to your new residence. Differentiate wants from needs, prioritize functionality, and ask yourself important questions like:

  • How many bedrooms would best fit your family’s needs?
  • How many bathrooms would you like?
  • How many acres of land would you like?

Deciding these things beforehand will help you stay focused during home-buying to find the right home for you and your family.

4. Prioritize Location

Once you look at potential homes, you must look beyond the house itself. You should find a home on a suitable property and in a good neighborhood.

You should research to see statistics for different areas, like crime rates, employment rates, and average property value. These statistics are vital because they can potentially affect your living experience and the value of your property if you ever wish to sell it.

Additionally, you should make sure that your location is close to the things that are important to you, whether it be a high-quality local school district for your children, plenty of nearby bars, restaurants, and other entertaining activities, or a short commute to your job.

You should also ensure easy access to important things like grocery stores, hospitals–in case of an emergency–and public transportation. These are things that some people take for granted and forget about when searching for a new home.

5. Be Open to Renovations

Deciding whether or not you are willing to renovate your new home is another thing you should determine before you start looking at properties.

Many people shy away from renovations, but the thing is that it is incredibly unlikely that you will be able to find a home that perfectly checks off all of your boxes while also remaining within your budget.

Instead of hoping for a miracle, you could take matters into your own hands and plan to renovate whatever house you purchase to turn it into your dream home. Just be sure to look at homes that are well below your budget to be able to afford renovations.

Additionally, consider what renovations each home would need while you are looking. Having firm plans to base your renovations on can help to save you a lot of money in the long run.