Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life, which can be somewhat overwhelming. Over the last 5 years we have helped thousands of aspire home buyers to buy their first homes. Here are 10 tips that first-time homebuyers should know before buying a home:

Speak With A Mortgage Expert ASAP

Getting pre-approved for a home loan can be the most intimidating parting of being a first-time homebuyer. But unless you are purchasing a home cash it is important to know what your home loan options will be. A mortgage expert will walk you through what loans are available to you. They will explain to you what mortgage interest you can expect, and how much money you will need for your down payment and closing costs.

First-Time homebuyers speak with a mortgage professional to see what they can afford and what type of home loan works for them.

Take it from us… DO NOT WAIT. To connect to one of our mortgage experts complete our quick 60-Second Buyer Power Approval, no credit pull, questionnaire.

You’ve Save Up Enough Money

Once you speak with a mortgage expert you’ll need to have a savings account with enough money to cover closing costs and inspection fees. In most cases, you’ll need to have a down payment to get a loan; which is a certain percentage based on your loan amount. Your mortgage expert can give you a ballpark figure of all of the out-of-pocket fees you might have once they pinpoint your budget range. However it is important to know that a lot of the inspections & closing costs will be out-of-pocket. Check out our savings tips for first-time homebuyers.

You Have a Good Credit Score
First-time homebuyer researches their current credit score to see if they will be able to buy a home.

Knowing your credit score ahead of time is important. Sites like Credit Karma offer free credit reports. You can also check your mobile bank app, which often includes a snapshot of what your current credit looks like. If you do have small credit issues speak with your mortgage expert and they can make recommendations to improve your credit. Do not try to fix your credit without professional guidance. This could be a waste of time, energy and resources. Connect with a mortgage expert to get a copy of your credit report and create a path to improving.

Have a Good Real Estate Agent

Your choice in agent will have a massive impact in your overall success as a first-time homebuyer. A great real estate agent will make sure you feel comfortable, take you through the steps of home buying and encourage you to ask questions any time you have one. So you either need to know How Interview your real estate agent, check out step by step guide. Or you can be connected with your local Savvy Homebuying expert, who we have vetted for your area.

Once you have selected an agent make sure they know exactly what you’re looking for by making a list of must haves, negotiables, and deal breakers. This list can set the expectations for homes that you want to see.

Consider the Future

Don’t purchase a house to solve a short term problem. You would just be setting yourself to have to move in a couple years. When touring homes consider what life will look like 5-7 years from now. Is this home still be a good fit when your family grows? Will you still enjoy the neighborhood when the new street gets put in? How will the commute feel after a month or two?

Is there anything about this home that would make it difficult to sell or rent in the future if you needed to do so? These are all great tips for first-time homebuyers so you don’t purchase something that only works for you for a short period of time.

Choose the Right Neighborhood

Typically, homebuyers are interested in schools, commute, crime and access to local amenities when choosing the right neighborhood for them. Has the neighborhood had any problems with crime? We highly recommend researching local crime maps to get a better idea of the type of incidents taking place in your favorite neighborhoods.

Is it easy to get to the highway if you have a commute for work? Ask yourself these important questions before you choose the area where you’d like to live.

Plan For Additional Costs 

Here are some recurring costs you will want to factor in when you purchase a new home:

  • Property Taxes
  • Utility Bills
  • Homeowner’s Insurance (possible flood or hurricane insurance if you are in a high-risk area)
  • Mortgage Insurance
  • Home Maintenance
Check Homeowner Insurance Prices 

Insurance prices depend on a number of factors so it’s best to reach out to your insurance company ahead of time or speak to your agent to see if the home is in a high-risk zone. Flood and hurricane insurance is actually required in certain areas, so you may have no choice but to pay higher premiums depending on your location. A great tip for first-time home buyers is to ask your mortgage provider which insurance companies they have seen offer great rates recently. Lenders are at the forefront of these fees and can recommend different places to shop that you may not have considered.

Get A Home Inspections 

We highly recommend that you get your potential new home inspected. A certified home inspector will examine the home and create a detailed report of their findings. The inspection report will provide you with detailed information on the condition of the home and give you an idea of areas that will require your attention or repair in the future. Here is a rundown of problems to look for in the report before buying the home. Often you can negotiate with the seller to handle some of these items before you close on the purchase of the home.

first-time homebuyer meets with home inspector to review their inspection report.

Buy The Home Warranty

Even though inspections will show you existing issues with a home a home warranty can protect you against significant cost in your first year of homeownership. Defense is the new offense! While a home warranty may cost $400-$600 depending on the home it can EASILY pay for its self in the event of 1 MINOR home repair.

In conclusion, buying your first home is an exciting and significant milestone. By following these top 10 tips for first-time homebuyers, you can navigate the process with confidence and make informed decisions. Remember to prioritize your budget, conduct thorough research, seek professional guidance, and stay organized throughout the journey.

With careful planning and preparation, you can find the perfect home that meets your needs and aspirations. Happy house hunting!

As a first-time home buyer, it’s important to to know what problems to look for when a buying a home. Overdue maintenance or lack of proper repairs can lead to big problems in a home. These problems can indicate underlying issues that may lead to costly repairs or impact your overall homeownership experience.

Hire A Certified Home Inspector and Get A Professional Report

It is important to know, that during a typical transaction the buyer will have the ability to hire a home inspector to look at the home. After the inspector has reviewed the condition of the home then they create a detailed report on their findings. All in all, the inspection report will explain the condition on most of the home’s systems and outline any items of concern.

Here are some items to look out for on your inspection report when you’re buying a home:

Structural Integrity

  • Cracks in walls or foundations: These can be indicative of structural problems and potential foundation issues.
  • Sagging or uneven floors: This may suggest underlying structural damage or foundation settlement.
  • Signs of water damage: Water stains or mold growth might signal leaks, poor drainage, or plumbing issues.
A tape measure measures the crack in a concrete slab at a home inspection.

Structural integrity issues can create obstacles with mortgage loan options. It is important to consult your mortgage professional about any concerns about effects the condition will have on financing options.

Electrical and Wiring

A home inspector checks the electric panel to ensure it is up to code.

On average, the cost of upgrading an electrical panel can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more. While a complete rewiring of an older home can range from $3,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on factors such as the size of the home and the complexity of the electrical system.

  • Outdated electrical systems: Properties with outdated or insufficient electrical systems pose safety hazards and may require costly upgrades.
  • Overloaded circuits: Multiple extension cords or frequent tripping of circuit breakers could indicate an electrical system unable to handle the load.

Plumbing and Drainage

  • Low water pressure: Poor water pressure might be a sign of plumbing problems or old pipes in need of replacement.
  • Leaking pipes: Visible leaks or water stains can indicate plumbing issues, potentially leading to water damage or mold growth.
  • Slow drainage: Slow drains might point to clogged or damaged pipes, which may require professional intervention.
A plumbers tools on top of a toilet suring a home inspection.

Roofing and Insulation

wholes and damage to a roof.

Unfortunately, if a bad roof goes unnoticed it could cost between $5,000–$12,000 for you to replace or repair depending on your area and the size of the roof.

  • Missing or damaged shingles: Damaged or missing shingles can lead to roof leaks and subsequent water damage.
  • Poor insulation: Insufficient insulation can result in higher energy bills and uncomfortable living conditions.

Pests and Infestations

  • Termite damage: The presence of termites or visible signs of termite damage can compromise the structural integrity of the property.
  • Rodent or insect infestations: Infestations can cause damage to the property and pose health risks to inhabitants.
Close of up wood termite damage found at a home inspection.

Some mortgage loans such as the VA Home Loan will require termite remediation clearance prior to closing on the home. Repairs can include tenting, replacing, repainting and resurfacing damage, but this can only happen after an infestation is handled.

Purchasing a home is a big investment, and if you do not know what problems to look for when buying a home it may cost you big. By paying attention to potential structural, electrical, plumbing, roofing, insulation, and pest-related issues, you can make an educated decision in buying the home.

How to choose the Realtor right for you.

Finding the best realtor to work with you on a home purchase is essential to making it a smooth and stress-free process. The problem is that most people don’t know what questions they should ask. To ensure you make an informed decision, we highly suggest one of two options:

One, you can use a Savvy Homebuyer Agent. These real estate agents are fully vetted and interviewed on your behalf. Our Savvy Homebuyer team has verified these agents offer exemplary service and are experts in their area. To be connected please complete this quick questionnaire:

Or two, you can learn how to interview a real estate agent. It is extremely important to ask your potential realtor the right questions that will give confidence in their guidance.

What to ask when interviewing your potential agent:

Determine your potential agent’s activity level

There are a number of reasons you want to know how many houses your agent sells in 1 year. First, in the world of real estate being licensed a long time does not mean that you have sold a lot of houses. Meaning, 20% of the agents sell 80% of the home in the country (roughly). Some agents have been selling 2-3 houses a year for a decade. While other agents may be licensed for a much shorter time, in that time they have been selling 2-3 homes a MONTH.

By evaluating their current home sales volume you can gauge their knowledge of the current real estate market.

Asses the Realtor’s experience with your specific loan product

Not all loan products are the same. Some agents work a lot with specific loan programs like the 0% USDA Home Loan or VA Home Loan. While others have only ever worked with conventional financing. Ask about your realtor’s experience working with your specific loan product. In fact, I would ask how many of that types of loans they have worked with in the last year. It is important to note that an agent’s knowledge of your loan type can prevent potential hurdles during closing and make for a smoother home-buying experience.

Find out about homebuyer benefits

Ask about any homebuyer benefits offered by your potential realtor. For example, will they provide access to off-market properties or do they have personal relationships with new construction developments? These types of connections can give you an edge when searching for your ideal home.

What services does the agent offer that will ensure a stress-free home-buying experience

It is important to find out about what services the realtor offers to facilitate a smooth homebuying journey. Do they provide virtual house hunting? Can they offer you a remote closing? Do they offer electronic signatures? All of these services can help make the home-buying experience more enjoyable!

Interviewing a real estate agent this harder than it looks

In conclusion, hopefully, this helps you realize that there is more to interviewing real estate agents than you originally thought. If you don’t have industry knowledge or aren’t comfortable assessing the expertise or professionalism of your potential agent, we got you covered! Just submit our request to connect from HERE and our team will connect you with our filled vetted and verified expert in your area. Knowing what questions to ask is essential to hire a knowledgeable agent who will provide great service. Hope this helps – Happy house hunting!

Are you dreaming of owning your own home but struggling to save up for the down payment? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we’ll explore some creative and effective ways people are saving for their downpayment. Get ready to be inspired and motivated to take action toward achieving your homeownership goals.

If you’re considering purchasing a home education is the first place to start.

Get your Savvy Homebuying Guide

Creative ways to save for your first home!
Bi-Weekly Savings Challenge:

One popular strategy is the bi-weekly savings challenge. Instead of saving monthly, divide your down payment goal by the number of bi-weekly paychecks in a year. Set up automatic transfers into a dedicated savings account on each payday, and watch your down payment savings grow faster than you ever imagined.

Friends gather to learn about the different ways to save.
Happy couple poses with a piggy bank where they keep their down payment savings.
The Envelope Saving Strategy:

If you prefer a more tangible approach, try the envelope-saving strategy. Label envelopes with different expense categories and allocate a portion of your income towards each one. By diligently saving a set amount in the “Down payment” envelope, you’ll see your progress visually and stay motivated to reach your goal.

It is important to know most First-Time Homebuyers make a mistake by NOT speaking with a qualified mortgage professional about their homebuying goals. This can make the process of saving and preparing to buy a home feel confusing and frustrating. Take 60 seconds to complete our Buyer Power Approval which is a NO CREDIT PULL questionnaire and our team can help you map a plan for homebuying success.

The $1000 Saving Challenge:

Looking for a fun and achievable down payment savings challenge? Try the $1000 saving challenge. Start by saving $1 on the first week, $2 on the second week, $3 on the third week, and so on, until you reach $52 on the final week. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved $1,378 toward your down payment!

If you’re serious about buying a home you should check out our Homebuyer Education center.

Embrace Frugality:

Cutting back on unnecessary expenses and embracing frugality can significantly boost your down payment savings. Consider packing your lunch, brewing your own coffee, canceling unused subscriptions, and shopping smart by using coupons and seeking out deals. Every dollar saved adds up!

Increase Your Income:

If you’re eager to accelerate your savings, explore opportunities to increase your income. Take on a side hustle, freelance work, or find ways to monetize your skills and passions. By diversifying your income streams, you’ll have more money to put toward your down payment.

Explore 0% Down Homebuying Loans

It is important to know that both the VA Home Loan and USDA Home Loans require 0% down. This does not mean it costs no money to use these mortgage programs. The buyer is still responsible for some casts, but they can alleviate the stress of saving for the down payment.

Explore Down Payment Assistance Programs

Additionally, downpayment assistance programs are designed to help individuals and families overcome the hurdle of saving for a downpayment on a home. These programs provide financial assistance, grants, or low-interest loans that can be used towards the downpayment or closing costs. The availability of these programs varies by state, with options available in nearly every state across the country.

Homebuyers research their down payment assistance programs in their state to alleviate the stress of saving for a down payment.

Savings for a home is a journey.

All in all, saving for a downpayment may seem challenging, but with the right strategies and mindset, you can make it happen. Whether you choose the bi-weekly savings challenge, envelope strategy, or the $1000 saving challenge, remember that every step counts towards your homeownership dreams. Stay focused, track your progress, and celebrate each milestone along the way. You’ve got this!

Start your savings journey today and take the first step towards owning your dream home. Are you ready to embrace the challenge? What do you think? Share your progress with us in the comments and let’s cheer you on!