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A Guide For First Time Home Buyers

Emily Welch


A first-time buyer can be a confusing experience. There are so many choices and decisions to make, not unlike the feeling over cramming for college finals or taking a long flight with a crying baby seated next to you. Why do we do it? The thrill of owning a home. If you have been shopping for homes as much as I have seen from my own experience and those I love, this home buying process is something that must be experienced at least once in one's lifetime.

There are many initial steps that you decide whether or not to take before even thinking about looking for your perfect home. Being involved as an armchair detective will truly help out throughout the entire process. This article will give tips on what kind of detective work you should be doing as a first-time homebuyer.

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A Quick Homebuying Guide

The first thing that comes to mind is the actual buying process, but there are many other aspects outside of that which can help you get ahead of the game. Things like building credit, getting pre-approved for financing, and doing market research on what different areas have available will all come in handy when you actually start looking for your new home. 

Save yourself some time by knowing exactly what kind of mortgage or type of loan is best suited for your current financial situation before even beginning the house-hunting process. This way you already know exactly how much house you can afford so there will be no surprises later on down the road. A real estate agent can help you with all the details to get started along these lines.

The Steps You Should Be Taking:

There are many steps that a first-time home buyer must take before actually going out and looking for homes. Below I have listed some of those steps as well as what they mean, and how they will affect the rest of your search process.

I. Get Credit Reported to the Credit Bureau

This requirement will show up on most house listings so it is important to know if you have been reported for credit or not. If not, you need to do this as soon as possible because it requires one month from initial contact to report your information which means no more showing up at open houses – if you have been pre-approved.

II. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage

This step will involve going to a bank or financial institution and completing paperwork that tells the lending officer all about your current income, financial obligations, employment status, and other important information. In addition to this personal data, they need actual documentation of said data in order to get you qualified for a mortgage loan. Once this is finished it will provide you with a letter from which you can use at open houses in order to alleviate some pressure off of beginning buyers who may be looking for that perfect home in an area where there are many like them available in the market place right now. 

If you know exactly how much house you can afford, you can choose to check out some of the more expensive homes on the market or stick with what your bank thinks is affordable. This way there are no surprises waiting for you at the end of the long home-buying road.

III. Get Your Credit Score

You should do this as early in advance as possible so that if anything unexpected shows up on it later you will be able to deal with it before actually trying to meet sales deadlines. If your credit score is found lower than expected by a lender, now is the time that they may require any past due to balances to be paid off prior to closing on your new home purchase. There are many places where you can get free credit reports like so there is no reason not to check it every year just in case.

IV. Get Prepared

You should get prepped and ready to buy a home if you have already jumped through all the hoops that homeownership entails. There are many ways in which this can be achieved, but one of the most important things that need to be done is making sure that your questionnaires and application forms are completed and filled out in advance because when you find something you like, time will be of the essence when bidding on a home or going in for a second look after it has been shown by another buyer. Gather all data beforehand and make sure it is filled out properly; take care of any necessary paperwork during this process such as tax records, bank statements, or even letters of reference from prior landlords.

V. Get Your Banking in Order

If you are anything like most first-time home buyers then you may be confused about how your banking needs will change once you have gone through the process of purchasing a new property. The fact is that there are many things that must be done in order for it to all go smoothly once you do get into the house selling market with your shiny new home on the market. 

For instance, when is comes to making sure that the mortgage is paid every month, without fail; this will always remain no matter what happens in terms of moving or not moving residences during the course of ownership. It is to note too that there are many other tasks that are involved with being a responsible homeowner, but these are the basics of what you should do before buying a home.

It is important to note though that you should check your credit report several months prior to putting your house on the market because if there are any discrepancies other than payments past due then this will not reflect well on your first time buyers application. So make sure that everything is taken care of during this process to save yourself some embarrassment.

The fact is that first time home buyers have many things they need to consider when making their decision about selling their property and purchasing another one for all the right reasons. First off, why would anyone want to move? If it gets too big or too small or even both then think about adjusting the number of bedrooms and bathrooms accordingly. This will alleviate a lot of problems when being faced with selling your property in a somewhat slow housing market. The last thing you want to have happen is to take a major loss on your new home purchase because it did not sell within six months, or even worse; not at all.

A good way to make sure that this does not happen however is by hiring real estate agent who has plenty of experience with first time buyers like yourself. This way they can prepare an effective marketing plan for your sale while teaching you important lessons about how to handle some of the more difficult transactions that may arise during the process of home buying and selling.


Buying a home can be a daunting task, but it's also an exciting one. In this article, we've outlined the basics that first time buyers need to know in order to make the process as smooth as possible. Stay tuned for future articles in this series, where we'll go into more detail about each step of the buying process. Are you ready to become a homeowner?