Blog featured graphic with image of Fidelity Federal Loan Officer Heather Montgomery

House-Hunting Tips To Know Before You Buy

Ups, downs, high prices, higher interest — anyone looking to buy a home recently has had to fasten their seatbelt. 

You may be wondering if it’s really the right time to buy. We sat down with Heather Montgomery, a loan officer at Fidelity Federal, for her take. Here are three things to keep in mind when purchasing in today’s real estate market.

Tip 1: Explore Refinancing, Renovation Loans or Buying a Lot

Some people are hesitant to make a purchase with interest rates creeping up, but Montgomery advised not to let that stop you. 

“If you find something you like, I wouldn’t be afraid to buy something right now,” said Montgomery. “The market’s still good.” 

She noted that refinancing down the road is always an option if more favorable interest rates become available. Another popular option right now is renovation loans — used to update an existing home instead of purchasing a new one. 

Finally, Montgomery said she’s also seeing buyers purchase lots now and make plans to wait until rates settle before beginning to build

Related: Understand the importance of getting preapproved >>

Tip 2: Consider an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

A traditional fixed-rate loan means you’ll owe the same amount of interest throughout the life of the loan. By contrast, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) will start at a certain rate — typically a lower one than a fixed-rate mortgage — for a specified term, but the interest rate will then fluctuate over the course of the loan. 

An ARM can be a good choice if you anticipate interest rates staying the same or dropping over the life of the loan. 

“A lot of people are now taking out ARM loans, hoping that the rates will go back down since they are currently high,” said Montgomery. “The initial rate is locked in for five full years.” 

Related: Take a look at common mortgage loan options >>

Tip 3: Take Advantage of First-Time Homebuyer Loans and Welcome Home Funds

First-time homebuyers can access a special mortgage available through Fidelity Federal, which offers a low down payment and no private mortgage insurance (PMI) required. 

The Welcome Home Program also reopens in March 2024 and will remain open until funds are depleted. This annual program offers grants of up to $25,000 for low- and moderate-income homebuyers. The funds can be used to help pay for down payments or closing costs.

Honorably discharged veterans, surviving spouses of military personnel, and active-duty military personnel are eligible to receive up to $25,000. All others may receive up to $20,000. 

Related: Learn more about the Welcome Home Program >>

Explore Mortgage Loan Options From Fidelity Federal

At Fidelity Federal, we offer personal loan services from origination to payoff. All loans are closed locally. Our loan officers originate, underwrite and close your loan. You’ll never have to talk to a phone center about your home loan concerns.

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This blog was originally published in 2023 and was updated in 2024.