The Essential House Buying Checklist for First Home Buyers

We've compiled a useful guide about buying a home. Read our house buying checklist with helpful tips, and ensure you avoid the common pitfalls today.

From the moment you decide to buy your first home, getting the details right is crucial. As tempting as it may be to hit the open houses in your area, it’s important to get organized first.

The list of things you have to do before buying a house can feel endless and overwhelming, but we’re here to help! Using this house buying checklist, you’ll be able to approach home buying with a level head and get the most out of the experience.

Read on to begin laying the groundwork for buying your first house!

Prepare Your Finances

The first step toward buying your first home is to prepare your finances. Ideally, this should be done well before you start house hunting.

Start by looking at your credit. To get approved for a conventional loan, you need a credit score of at least 620. If you need to improve your credit, work on paying down debt and always make payments on time.

While you do this, you should also be saving for a down payment. To avoid the cost of private mortgage insurance, you’ll need to have 20% of the total price on hand. And even if you don’t mind PMI, you’ll still need at least 3% of the purchase price.

Choose a Mortgage Option

There are several different mortgage options to choose from, each with its own down payment and qualification requirements. The options include conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans.

Conventional loans require the highest down payment but FHA, VA, and USDA loans have more specific stipulations that must be met to qualify. For example, VA loans are only available to veterans and active military personnel.

Get a Preapproval Letter

Whether you’re moving to the countryside or the big city, getting a preapproval letter in advance is a must. This is a document from a lender stating the exact amount they’re willing to give you in a loan.

Getting a preapproval letter is one of the best home buying tips we can give you because it will not only help you narrow your options but will also let sellers know that you’re serious, strengthening your offers.

Start House Hunting

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what to look for when buying a house, it varies depending on your specific wants and needs. Because of this, it’s helpful to make your own lists before browsing.

Make two lists, one for your “must-haves” and the other for your “would be nice to have.” It’s important to make the distinction between the two because the chances of a single house checking off every single box are slim to none.

Make an Offer

When you’ve found a house that you love, it’s time to make an offer. Thanks to your preapproval letter, this will be easier than you think.

With help from your real estate agent, choose a figure that’s attractive to both you and the seller. And, if possible, have your down payment, closing costs, and reserves ready to go. Your agent will be able to advise you on other ways to make your offer look strong.

Buy a House Stress-Free With This House Buying Checklist

Buying a house is never easy, especially for first-time buyers. That’s why staying organized is crucial!

By using this house buying checklist, you can remove the stress and unknowns from the process and get more enjoyment out of shopping for your first home.

Once you’ve made it through this checklist for purchasing a house and your offer has been accepted, you can get to the fun part! Check out our blog for tips and tricks for making your new house a home.