Buying home is one of those life events–like getting married, having children, finding your dream career, etc–that is surrounded by a fog of sometimes true, sometimes misinformed information. If you’re currently in the market to buy a home, it can be difficult to sift through all of this information and determine what you should pay attention to and what you can ignore.

First of all, when looking for a home, you should always work with a real estate agent, as agents will help you maneuver the ins and outs of this process. Get in touch with The SeaReal Team to find a professional agent at 206-518-5518 or info@searealteam.com.

In the meantime, here are the most common myths about home buying.

1. You need a 20% down payment.

This is perhaps one of the biggest myths and often keeps individuals from making the leap and beginning the home-buying process. While it’s definitely smart to put down 20%, it’s not necessarily required to buy a home. In fact, over the past few years, the majority of homebuyers have been putting down less than 20%.

2. A 30-year fixed mortgage is always the best choice.

If you intend to stay in your new home for at least 30 years, then yes, a 30-year-fixed mortgage is probably your best bet. However, if you plan on staying in your home for just a few years, you might want to choose a 7-year-fixed rate. The longer the fixed rate, the higher the interest rate, which means that if you don’t plan on staying in your home for a long time you could be paying a higher rate for nothing. Again, consult with a real estate agent to figure out which kind of mortgage is best for you.

3. You need perfect credit.

Had a brush with some bad credit card decisions in your early twenties? Not to worry. Similar to the 20% down payment myth, this idea prevents many people from starting the home-buying process. The truth is, it’s still possible to buy a home with less-than-perfect credit. You can qualify for government loan programs with a FICO score as low as 580. Just keep in mind that a lower credit score means higher mortgage interest rates.

4. Buying a home will be quick.

It’s important to have patience when searching for a home. Especially in today’s seller’s market, and especially in the competitive Seattle area, be prepared to take your time. Get started looking for a home early, and work with a real estate agent to speed this process up as much as possible.

Additionally, keep in mind that once your offer on a home is accepted, the process still isn’t over. The loan process, which includes inspection and appraisal, takes about four to six weeks to close. For FHA loans, this could take even longer.

5. Location is most important.

Most people dream about living in perfect, trendy neighborhoods, but it’s often smart to look for hidden real estate gems: homes in up-and-coming neighborhoods such as Beacon Hill or White Center or Burien, or lovely and underrated spots such as Normandy Park. Finding a home in less popular neighborhoods could also mean that you get a better deal.

To get started finding your home, and for help shifting through all of the information out there, contact the SeaReal Team (206-518-5518 or info@searealteam.com).