First-Time Home Buyer Checklist

Written by Banks Editorial Team
3 min. read
Written by Banks Editorial Team
3 min. read

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Buying a new home is an exciting time, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. However, it can also be overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with how the home buying process works or don’t have the right people working by your side to get the transaction finalized. 

Still, there are many advantages to be aware of. And you can minimize the number of hiccups you face by familiarizing yourself with the process before you start shopping for the perfect home. 

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Advantages of Being a First-Time Home Buyer

First-time home buyers can capitalize on enticing perks.

Get Better Interest Rates

Conventional and government-backed mortgages are available to first-time home buyers. Both offer competitive interest rates, even if you don’t have a perfect credit score. Furthermore, it’s possible to get approved for a down payment of just 3 percent, depending on the loan product you select.

Extra Assistance Eligibility

Reach out to the housing authority in your local area to learn more about first-time home buyer programs you could be eligible for. Also, consider signing up for workshops designed for prospective home buyers to educate yourself on the process and what to expect. 

If you’re already well-versed in the home buying process and are ready to move forward with buying your first home, consider Offerpad for a seamless experience. When you buy with Offerpad, you’ll receive support from a Dedicated Solutions Coordinator and local experts who are available to guide you every step of the way. You’ll also get up to $1,000 towards closing costs to keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

Offerpad currently has homes available for sale in these markets: 

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina 
  • Columbus, Ohio 
  • Dallas, Texas 
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Houston, Texas
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jacksonville, Florida 
  • Kansas City, Missouri 
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Nashville, Tennessee 
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Raleigh, North Carolina 
  • Riverside, California 
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • San Bernardino, California
  • Sacramento, California
  • St. Louis, Missouri 
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Tampa, Florida
Sell Your House Fast

Skip the headaches and hassles of selling your home traditionally. No Showings, No Open Houses, No Stress. Get a free offer today!

First-Time Home Buyer Checklist

When you’re ready to purchase a home, follow this step-by-step guide to streamline the process and get to the closing table faster.

1. Ensure That You Are Ready

Are you ready to make a financial commitment that will impact your finances for years to come? Will buying a home interfere with meeting other financial goals, or are you financially prepared to take this big step? Does homeownership fit into your future plans? The answers to these questions will help determine if you’re ready to purchase a home. 

2. Assess Your Finances and Set a Budget

How much home can you afford? Review your budget to get an idea of how much room exists in your budget for a mortgage payment. Be sure to factor in other homeownership costs that renters don’t have to worry about, including property taxes, homeowners insurance, association fees and mortgage insurance (if applicable). Consider using a mortgage calculator to lend a helping hand. 

3. Prepare Your Down Payment

Once you’ve decided on a purchase price, the next step is to figure out how you’ll save for the down payment. The amount you’ll need will depend on the mortgage product you select. A down payment as low as 3 percent could work if you get a conventional loan. Government-backed home loan products, like FHA mortgages, offer down payments of just 3.5 percent, and you could be eligible for 100 percent financing on a USDA or VA loan. 

Be mindful that a lower down payment means you’ll likely have to pay mortgage insurance. And if you’re unsure of how you’ll save up enough money in a reasonable period, inquire about first-time home buyer programs in your local area or state of residence. 

4. Determine Your Priorities

Do you have a list of preferences for the home you’re looking to buy? If not, take some time out to jot down features that are a must to help simplify the home search. This includes the type of home you wish to buy (i.e., single-family or multi-family), desired neighborhoods and add-ons (i.e., pool or backyard fence). 

5. Explore Mortgage Options and Get Preapproved 

Connect with a lender to learn more about mortgage options that may be available to you. Add two additional lenders to your list and get preapproved with each to gauge which offers the most competitive loan option. 

6. Find a Real Estate Agent/Seller

Hire a real estate agent that’s had success working with buyers and sellers in the area you’re considering. You’ll want to interview a few options first unless you have prior experience with a particular agent or they come highly recommended. 

7. Begin the Hunt for Your New Home

With the assistance of your real estate agent, you can start the search for your new home. They will conduct a search on their end, depending on your preferences, and work with the selling agent to schedule showings. 

8. Make an Offer and Negotiate

Once you’ve found the perfect home, work with your real estate agent to come up with a competitive offer. The seller will either accept the offer as-is, counter offer or reject it altogether. If your offer is rejected, you’ll need to return to the drawing board to find more listings that fit your needs. 

9. Conduct A Home Appraisal and Inspection

Before closing on the home, the lender will require an appraisal and inspection. Both assure the lender that the property’s value coincides with the mortgage amount and that the home is safe to live in. 

10. Closing

In the final and most important step, you will head to the closing table to review and sign your loan documents. You’ll also need to bring payment for your down payment and closing costs along. The title company will send the closing packet a few days in advance so you can ensure everything is correct. 

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