Stephen F. Been on First-time Home Buying

Based in Atlanta, Stephen F. Been has served as Legacy Communities’ Chief Executive Officer for nearly a decade. An astute leader, Stephen F. Been assisted his housing development firm in successfully weathering the housing market’s financial challenges of the last few years.

While housing prices have declined significantly since 2007, demand has not kept pace with the increased inventory. One sector that has shown some signs of life is that of first-time home buyers. This may be attributable to the federal government’s $8,000 tax credit for new buyers. Even though this credit expired in 2010, now remains a good time for individuals considering buying their first home to take advantage of favorable prices. The following suggestions may be helpful to those new to the market:

1. Check with family members for assistance with the down payment. The federal government allows individuals to give as much as $13,000 tax free to one person in a year. Relatives who wish to receive the money back can work with borrowers to document such loans formally.

2. Research loan opportunities from the Federal Housing Administration. This agency often provides notes at lower rates and for smaller down payments to qualifying individuals.

3. Exercise caution in obtaining a mortgage. While online lenders may promise very low interest rates, such deals may come with conditions. It may also help to check with state agencies to verify that such lenders remain in good standing.

4. Consider the total cost of home ownership. Buying a property includes costs aside from a mortgage, such as homeowner’s insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community dues.


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