Buying Your First Home
Buying Your First Home
Buying your first home can and should be a fun, exciting experience.
It will probably also be the single largest investment you ever make. For this
reason, it is important to be involved and informed.
The series of steps below can help eliminate much of the guesswork and make
you a much more informed buyer, so that your home purchase can be a joyful
1. Get Pre-approved for a maximum purchase price before looking at any homes. The last thing that
you want to happen is to find your dream home, then make an offer that is accepted – only to find out that
there is some error on your credit report that will take more time to correct than allowed by the contract sale
You want to start looking for homes with the assurance that you are already pre-approved to buy at a
certain price limit, so you can negotiate with confidence. Also, many Sellers won’t accept an offer from a Buyer
that has not already been pre-approved, and you can easily lose a home that is in demand when you have to
get pre-approved and other buyers that are interested are already pre-approved and ready to buy.
2. Determine a realistic price range. Your mortgage lender can determine in a matter of minutes how much
of a loan you can pre-qualify for, depending upon your income and debts. With these numbers in hand, you can
begin looking at homes that are in your budget.
3. Select a Realtor Normally, it is best to select a Realtor that has been referred to you by a trusted source.
Working with one person that fits your personality and listens to your home needs will help assure positive
You also want a Realtor that has experience in your area of interest, and can tell you about any non-
obvious factors that may affect the value or future marketability of the home you are interested in purchasing.
(We have several experienced Realtors that give great service – feel free to contact us for a referral.)
4. View a variety of homes and neighborhoods. Don't be discouraged if you don't find the right home the
first day. Also remember that love at first sight can apply to homes, too.
5. Select the home for you and make an offer to the seller on an earnest money contract. Your Realtor will
prepare the contract and review it with you. When both parties have agreed to all terms in writing, you are on
your way to home ownership!
6. Select your loan program and lock in your interest rate. You need to make sure you have selected a
loan program that you understand, and one that has been tailored to fit your financial wants and needs. Also,
the interest rates move everyday, sometimes several times per day – depending on the volatility of the market.
Once you have selected a loan program that you are pre-approved for, you should consider locking in the rate to
avoid upward movement.
7. Arrange for a home inspection by a Licensed Real Estate Inspector. Have a licensed pest inspector check
the home for termites. Both should provide written reports upon inspection completion.
Arrange for Hazard Insurance (Homeowner’s Insurance). It is best to have this done at least 1 – 2 weeks
prior to your closing to give the insurance company plenty of time to put a quote together.
Consider a home warranty plan. Home warranty companies will, upon failure of eligible systems and
components of your home, provide for repair or replacement. These plans are effective for one year from the
closing date. They can be part of the contract negotiations (to be purchased by either the buyer or the seller).
10. Plan your move well ahead of time. Contact utility companies in advance, and if you are currently
renting, give your landlord at least 30 days notice before vacating. Depending on your rental agreement, you
may be required to give further advance notice.
11. Enjoy your new home. Homeownership is the American dream. By planning ahead, getting involved and
staying informed, you can start building on that dream today.