It’s another year filled with optimism and dreams. According to the Chinese lunar year, this is the year of the Monkey or ‘Hou’, and if you are a Monkey, it means you are inherently, intellectually creative with a hint of mischief. And with that in mind, it’s a good year to live life to its fullest, regardless of whether you’re a Monkey or not.

And, speaking of living a full life, a recent report states that first time home buyers have decreased from 40% over the most recent years to 30% as of 2015. Part of the reason is that first time home buyers are either misinformed, as to what it takes to qualify to attain a mortgage loan or just plain clueless. This is not hard to believe, as there seems to be so much mystery surrounding the home buying process; not to mention, the complexity of it that sometimes any story will fit the bill. Reportedly, its believed that in order to purchase a home, a downpayment of 16% is required, when in reality it takes as little as 3% and there are many programs available that offer financial assistance. So, with that in mind, here are a few independent sources to get you started:

U.S. Dept of Housing & Urban Development (HUD); California Housing Financial Agency (CalHFA); Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

You’ll find a lot of helpful information here and at some point you’ll want to contact a real estate professional to proceed further or to just clarify the information you’ve just researched. Most professionals are happy to be of service in guiding you in the right direction.

“Owning a home is a keystone of wealth – both financial affluence and emotional security” – Suze Orman


Source: “Why First-time buyers are staying on the sidelines” (MarketWatch, Jan 4, 2016).  “Strong Housing Sector Trumps Tighter Monetary Policy in 2016” (Freddie Mac Executive Perspectives, Jan 4, 2016).