12 Top Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home is one of the most important things you can do.

That’s why you really need to think about your purchase and ensure you make the right one.

Here are 12 top tips for first-time home buyers:


1.Think in the long-term and consider resale value

Do you want to have kids?
Will you be taking care of your parents?
If your first home is temporary, then who will it be sold to?
You’ll find families with children won’t want to buy a home without a school nearby or on busy streets.

2.  Make a checklist

The home buying process is an emotional one.
You need to leave your emotions at the door when checking a house.
This isn’t possible.
So just write a list of everything your home must have and other essentials.
Take this checklist with you to each house and check off the things on the list. Take photos as well.
That way you’ll have to think about a home that you fall in love with but doesn’t have anything you need.

3. Consider all the expenses

There’s more to buying a house than the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.
There’s also the cost of utilities, commuting, and upgrading the house.
Call utility companies and ask for estimates and put together a real budget for the new home to ensure you can afford to live there.

4. Ask for the Homeowners Association CCR’s first

If the home that you are thinking to buy has an HOA.
Make sure you read twice the CCR’s that the HOA will provide you, and ask questions.
You wouldn’t want to buy a house to rent only to learn that the house can’t be rented out. Ask for the CCR’s in advance or download these online as many are available on the HOA Website when buying a home that’s part of an HOA.

5. Research funding sources such as grants

There are a lot of grants and sources of funding you might not even know exist.
Some of them are pretty generous too and are offered based on professionals and the location of the house.
Look through every finance option you have before deciding you wouldn’t qualify anyway.

6. Read the Purchase Contract before signing it

Your house will likely be the largest single purchase you ever make.
Read through – and understand – the Purchase Contract. If you don’t understand it your real estate agent it there to help you. Ask for help!
Talk to your mortgage broker and real estate agent about anything you don’t understand and fire them if they aren’t willing to explain it.
There are lots of people who would be willing to help if you need it.

7. Learn about the demographics of the neighbourhood

When living in a neighbourhood of renters, the whole neighbourhood can be brought down by some bad renters or landlords.
Also, would you be happy to live in a neighbourhood of single people when you’ve got young kids?
Consider your new neighbours.

8. Buy the view if you like it

You shouldn’t buy a house for the view unless you own the view as well.
There’s no telling when a new building project will pop up between your house and that stunning mountain or ocean views.
The view never is guaranteed! Anything can happen, other buildings or trees can obstruct your view.

9. Look beyond staging

No one really appreciates how much staging a house goes through.
Staged houses look infinitely better than occupied ones.
Sometimes the staged look of a home isn’t even possible; such as having lamps that look nice where there are no outlets!
Pay attention, not to the staging of the house, but the overall layout and structure.
You can always redecorate.

10. All that old advice you were given is true

Avoid buying above your means! Save your pennies!
You should always have an emergency fund; you should save for a 20% downpayment to avoid a PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)
if your down payment is below 20% to will have to pay for it in addition to the principal and interest.
You’ll need to save for closing costs, inspection fees and the cost to move.
All of this old advice is as true today as it has you heard it.

11. Credit Score & Loan Pre – Approval

Check your credit score.
You are entitled to a free credit report each year.
Before applying for a mortgage, find out whether there are any discrepancies on your report and where you can improve your credit score.
The better your credit score, the lower your mortgage rate.

You will need to get pre-approved from at least one lender for a mortgage, though getting at least three pre-approvals is preferred so you can get the best mortgage rate and terms. To start, use a simple online mortgage payment calculator to estimate how much house your desired monthly payment and down payment will qualify you for.

12. Narrow your home search.
Make a list of your favourite neighbourhoods, what kind of home features you can’t live without and any other criteria. This will help your agent target your search.


Finding the right agent to work with is key to getting an offer accepted on the home you want. I have years of experience assisting clients to find their first home. Contact me for more information!

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Arizona Department of Real Estate # BR5550696000
California Bureau of RealEstate # 01222569

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

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