BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Looking for the perfect home can be an intimidating process, but Baton Rouge realtor and broker Kendra Novak said the best time to buy a home is up to the person.

“If you’re paying $1,200-1,500 a month in rent then you can afford a $225,000 house,” Daniel Duggan, the Louisiana Housing Corporation Homeownership business development marketing supervisor said.

“A lot of people want to do what’s called timing the market, but there’s really no way of timing the market because no one ever knows what the market is actually going to do,” Novak said.

She said everyone’s interest rate and credit score are going to vary. Depending on the individual’s situation.

“Your interest rate is based on your situation and your needs. Plus lenders are going to look at the entire profile of each individual that’s going to consist of credit, assets, and down payment. Everyone’s profile is different so you can’t tell who’s going to get what interest rate,” Novak said.

For those curious about when or if they must put a down payment on a home, Novak said it’s not always required but it can help.

“If you are low on cash but have stellar credit. You’ve been working on your job for an extended period of time. You may not need a large down payment. Someone else who may be heavy on cash wants to put a down payment. If they are in that position then that’s going to benefit them in the long run. Buy their interest rate down,” Novak said.

Duggan said they offer many programs to help others pay their down payment.

“When you go through our educational opportunities sponsored by the state of Louisiana. We will actually make the down payment for your first house. And our mandate was to get as many people in homeownership as possible,” Duggan said.

But before cruising through neighborhoods to find your home, Novak said it’s important to keep in mind the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent.

“Real estate agent is not a realtor until they become members of the National Association of Realtors. Which gives us extra access to information that the real estate agent will never have. It allows us to give our client a higher level of service because we have the tool, the resources and the information because we’re realtors, not real estate agents,” Novak said.

Duggan also encouraged others to be open-minded in considering homeownership.

“The fear of coming up with that downpayment and the fear of the process is keeping a lot of people from being homeowners. We have the resources to help you achieve the American Dream of homeownership,” Duggan said.