Updated October 17, 2023
The world of homebuying can seem like a pretty disorienting place — especially for new buyers. But don’t worry, with these ten first-time homeowner tips, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to succeed.
Just watch this short video for some instant homebuying help.
Pretty straightforward, right? Let’s review those homebuying tips in just a little more detail.
1. Define your needs.
Before you can start looking, you need to draw up the boundaries of your search. How many beds and baths do you need? What are your non-negotiables? And how far are you willing to commute to work? Once you know your budget, your limitations, and your geographic radius, everything else will be a little easier.
2. Check your credit.
Make sure you get a copy of your credit report and double check it for any errors! These days, it’s pretty easy to review every aspect of your score online. And once you’re ready to buy, hold back on opening any new accounts. You’ll want to keep your finances stable and avoid any hard credit pulls. (Make sure to check these tips for some credit-boosting assistance.)
3. Understand all the costs.
If you’re serious about homeownership, odds are you’ve consulted an online mortgage calculator before. And if not, you should check out ours to give you a good idea of how much house you can afford. But keep in mind, these useful tools don’t account for everything. You’re going to want to make some room in your budget for repairs, maintenance, and unforeseen emergencies as well.
4. Be aware of HOA fees.
Even after you do the math on taxes, rates, and costs, you need to make sure you investigate these fees, too. Find out if your community has a homeowners association, how much they charge per month, and what exactly these fees go towards.
5. Consider location.
Consult your maps to see how close you are to work, family, restaurants, shopping, and regional attractions. And make sure you really know the neighborhoods you’re looking into. Visit them in person if you can, on different days and at different times— that’s the only way to truly get a feel for the everyday rhythms of your new life.
6. Learn about your loan options.
Another important piece of advice for buying a house? Always investigate all of your home financing options. This is where it’s useful to have an expert loan advisor on your side to help explain everything that’s available to you.
7. Research local schools.
If you have kids, or are planning to, you should check out what school district you’ll be in and how it stacks up. Also important: local daycares, camps, sports facilities, and libraries. You’ll want to make sure there’s a good mix of fun stuff for your little ones.
8. Find a real estate agent you trust.
This is one of the most vital homebuying tips. When it comes to real estate agents, there are a lot of options out there. That’s why you need to put in the extra work and find one who matches your needs, locations, and energy.
9. Stick to your budget.
It can be easy to fall head over heels for a beautifully designed kitchen. But don’t lose sight of the numbers! Sticking to a well-defined budget is the key to ensuring long-term success and happiness in your new home.
10. Buy with your heart...and your head.
The best way to set yourself up for homebuying success is to balance your desires and your limitations. It’s important to love your new home, but you need to make sure you can afford everything it entails as well! Keep these bits of advice in mind and you’ll be ready to get started on your homebuying adventure!