Apr 08, 2024

It’s exciting - and also a little frightening – when beginning the home buying process for the first time. While you might know you’re ready to become a homeowner, you might not know where to start. Consider these tips to help ensure your first home buying experience goes smoothly.

Collect Your Financial Documents, Get Pre-Approved

In order to get pre-approved, you’ll need to provide a lender with financial documents such as previous tax returns, bank statements, and balances on any outstanding debt. This will help you be better prepared when applying for a loan, thus speeding up the application process.

Once your application is complete, you’ll receive a mortgage pre-approval letter (if approved) to begin searching for a home. The letter will show sellers you are ready to purchase a home and can give you an edge over other buyers.

Make A List of Ideal Home Features

Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? Are children in your future plans? Questions like these could greatly impact which type of home is best for you. A list of wants and needs will help narrow your search, saving time and even money in the process.

If you are working with a real estate agent, an ideal home list can help them find potential homes within their network of contacts or other real estate websites you may not be aware of. Don’t forget to include safety or commute considerations into neighborhoods of interest.

Always Walk-Through and Inspect the Home

Once you’ve found a home and scheduled a walk-through, consider bringing a trusted family member or friend as a second set of eyes. Evaluate the overall condition of the home inside and out for any noises, odors or areas that could be a concern. Ask the seller for documentation of purchased appliances (stove, HVAC unit, etc.) so you’re aware of how old those items may be. Doing so could impact the negotiation process, should you choose to pursue the home.

Note: While most lenders recommend it, some require a home inspection be completed by a licensed professional in addition to any walk-throughs.

Negotiate with the Seller

Depending on the report from the home inspection, be prepared to negotiate with the seller. Consider researching comparable homes nearby to determine if the home’s price and condition is in range with the current market. You may be able to save money by asking the seller to pay for any repairs or lower the asking price to help cover repair costs. The buyer can also ask the seller to pay for a portion of the closing costs, however, lenders can limit the amount the seller can pay.

Buying your first home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make, so it’s critical to find the right one for you. Cinfed's mortgage calculator can help estimate how much home you can afford based on your monthly income, down payment, and interest rate. If you believe you are ready to get the home buying process started, contact a Cinfed mortgage professional today.