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Financially Fit

Advice for First-Time Home Buyers


Buying a home for the first time can lead to a range of emotions. There is the excitement of becoming a home owner, the nervousness that comes along with the process and the frustration that builds when it seems that nothing is going your way. But through all the various emotions, the reward at the end of the tunnel is exponentially worth the struggle.

In the following blog, we have highlighted some useful tips and advice for first-time home buyers in the hopes of making the process a little easier and calming as you become a home owner.

1. Establish a realistic budget.

From the onset, setting a realistic budget and working diligently to work within that budget is imperative. You need to have a complete understanding of the additional costs associated with the home buying process, including the deposit (which is generally 5-20% of the cost of the home) and any additional fees for a survey, lender, broker, etc.

2. Start saving for a down payment.

Starting to save is always a good idea financially but, when it comes to buying a home, you need to make extra sure that you’ve saved enough money to cover the deposit. As mentioned under the first point, you can generally expect that a deposit will be 5-20% of the cost of the home.

3. Be aware of your credit score.

When beginning the mortgage lending process, identifying and understanding your credit score will be vital to your approval. We recommend checking your credit score prior to starting the process, ensuring that you are completely prepared to begin acquiring a mortgage loan.

4. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage.

Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, essentially gives you an estimate on a loan based on income and debts. A pre-approval gives you an advantage when working with a seller. It portrays you as a much more serious and reliable buyer than those who have not been pre-approved.

5. Pick your real estate agent wisely.

Choosing a real estate agent that truly understands your needs and budget is an important early step in the home buying process. Meet with several real estate agents and trust your instincts on an agent that you believe you can trust and will have your best interests at heart.

6. Compare mortgage rates.

When looking at mortgage rates, make sure to meet with several lenders to make sure you are getting the best rate for you. It never hurts to have options. Review all the rates and terms and determine which option is the most financially beneficial.

7. Research the neighborhood.

You may have found your “dream” home, but what if you are in a less than satisfactory neighborhood? If you have kids or are planning to have kids, are you in a good school district? These are questions you should be asking yourself when you are looking at buying a home. A good neighborhood is just as important as a good home.

If you are in the market for a home for the first time, we’d love to have the opportunity to sit down with you and help you figure out the best mortgage rate and offer advice on the home buying process. Take a look at the video below for some more information from our very own mortgage lender, Ben Menke, on the home buying process!

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