Buying a home is an exciting decision — but one that comes with a whole lot of work. If you’re getting your first house, condo, townhome or similar abode, we can help you figure it out. Let’s get started on some ways to make this process a little more understandable.

Money

The home buying process starts before you actually get preapproved for the loan. Whether home buying is a distant goal a few years down the road, or you are ready to apply for a loan today, money is important! Work on savings, keep paying your bills on time, and avoid any credit pulls such as buying a new car.

Connect with Your Community

Talk to your friends and family. There is a good chance someone you know has purchased a home, works with mortgages, or works with insurance. While their experiences will vary from yours, know who you can rely on if you need a little extra help understanding something. You don’t have to do this alone!

Research Your Mortgage Loan Options

Most people start this conversation with their bank or trusted financial institution. The right mortgage loan officer can help you understand FHA, VA, and other loan types.

First-time Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance

This one can vary by state or county, and sometimes your mortgage officer or real estate agent can help you find programs. Pull up Google and search “[your state/county] first time home buyer programs.” For example, Maricopa County in Arizona offers a “Home in 5” program. Take a look and see what is in your area!

Research Your Budget

Buying a home means a few more expenses you may not have known about before. Yes, you will have a mortgage bill, and you will also have an escrow for your taxes and insurance. You may also have HOA fees or a Fire Subscription bill. A conversation with your loan officer and real estate agent can help you to understand some of these bills.

Get a Real Estate Agent

Sure, you can buy a home solo. However, for your first time, it probably is best to rely on an expert in the area. You can get agent recommendations from family, friends, your loan officer, or advertisements. Start somewhere and reach out to find someone with whom you feel comfortable.

Location, Location, Location!

If you don’t like the paint, you can always find a new color. If you are allergic to the lavender planted, you can always change it. What is more important is the location. Think about your commute to work and school. How far is family? Are there hiking trails nearby? Sometimes it’s hard to look past the cosmetics of the home, however, try to keep in mind that most things can be changed. Location is a bit more permanent.

Insurance

Most of us in the United States are familiar with auto insurance required to drive. Lenders also require homeowners insurance for the house you purchase. Find the right policy that offers the protection you need with a premium you can afford. Also, keep in mind you can change your homeowner’s policy later down the line as your needs change.

Check the Area

On the note of location location location, make the drive. Visit during the day and at night. Test out the commute, and get a feel for traffic signals, construction, and schools. Getting your physical feet on the ground along with a discussion with your real estate agent can help you feel confident in your choice.

Talk to the Locals

You set a budget, found an agent, and you have visited the area. Talk to the locals! This can mean finding online forums for the area, talking to people at the local grocery stores, or having a conversation with a couple walking down the street. Having these conversations will help you to build connections with your possible new neighbors!