Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is a big deal.

Too often, I think people rush into home ownership because it’s seen as a sign of adulthood and financial responsibility.

But owning a home is a big commitment, it’s not a guaranteed good investment, and it’s a truckload of work. (I’ve been a homeowner for only two years and I already have a growing list of things to do and contractors to call…it’s not always the creative paradise remodeling shows make it out to be).

And last but not least, believe me, lots of people own homes and yet their finances are a mess! Home ownership can be a smart long-term move, but you want to know what you’re getting into.

With that said, I know that if you’re reading this, you’re probably going to buy a house anyway. That’s fine; I did too. So here I’ve put together a first time home buying guide to wrap up our best advice over the last few years in one place. Enjoy!

How to buy your first home

Ask yourself: ‘Is it really time for me to buy a home?’

Don’t buy a home just because everybody’s doing it (they’re not) or because your Uncle Joe told you that it’s stupid to “throw money away” on rent (he’s wrong, too). Don’t buy a home because it’s a buyer’s market or just because of low mortgage rates. Buy a home because you want to be a homeowner. Buy a home because you’re settling down and need a place to live for at least five years. And only buy a home if you’re financially ready.

  • How to prepare to buy your first home
  • How much house can you afford?
  • Are you really ready? 5 reasons not to buy a home
  • Rent vs. Buy calculator

Determine how you will afford your home

For most of us, our home is the most expensive thing we’ll ever buy;
and for most of us, we need one big loan to do it—a mortgage.

If you remember all the foreclosures that happened during the recession, a mortgage is not something to be taken lightly.

To pay for your first home, you’ll need good credit, a steady job, and a sizable chunk of cash for a down payment. Navigating the waters of home financing isn’t always easy, but these articles can help guide you.

Articles

  • What You Need to Get Approved for a Mortgage
  • How To Save For A Down Payment On Your First House
  • How Much Of A Down Payment Will You Need?
  • Mortgage Rates Explained
  • How to Shop for a Mortgage: 7 Steps to Finding the Perfect Home Loan
  • What Percentage of Income Can You Afford for Mortgage Payments?

Resources

  • Get Mortgage Pre-Approval Online
  • Home Affordability Calculator
  • Compare Today’s Mortgage Rates
  • Take a Look at the Best Online Mortgage Lenders

Go shopping for your first home

Avoid creating a financial disaster by preparing your finances before going house hunting!

In a perfect world, you would commit to buying a home and get mortgage pre-approval before stepping foot into your first open house. Obviously, it may be you didn’t realize you wanted to own a home until you see your dream home. Either way, shopping for a home can be a long and taxing experience.

  • 10 Tips for Hassle-Free House Hunting
  • How to Find a Good Realtor
  • Your Home Buying Checklist

Resources

  • Realtor.com: Search Homes For Sale Nationwide

Seal the deal at closing

As if getting a mortgage and finding the perfect house wasn’t enough, you’ll soon learn that it’s only half of the home-buying process.

Here are few final tips before you head out there on your own:

  • The Secrets to Winning a Bidding War
  • What Happens at a Closing?
  • How Much Cash Do You Really Need To Close On A Home?

And, that’s a wrap! Our first time home buying guide. Hope it’s useful. Do let us know what you think and if there are any topics you’d like to see us cover in the future! Happy home buying!

Explore our archive for many more articles on real estate and home buying

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