Home Buying and First Time Home Buyers basics

Buying a home can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re a first time buyer – but choosing the right agent can make the process smoother and more enjoyable. To lessen the stress when picking the perfect home, follow this timeline to ensure nothing is forgotten during the process.

2 – 4 Months prior to buying

Research Real Estate – Decide on the type and style of house you’d like to call home. Research neighborhoods to see which markets are the strongest and which markets are on the rise. Depending on your family’s size, figure out what you’ll need to live comfortably. Finally, figure out how much house you can afford.

Get Mortgage Pre-Approval – Contact a lender to run a preliminary estimate on how much of a loan you can afford. The lender will base an estimate on assets, your credit history and income. If there are issues with your credit report, take care of those loose ends before applying for a pre-approved mortgage. The pre-approved mortgage can also help you further narrow your search to areas and houses you can afford.

Find the Right REALTOR® – Begin interviewing Realtors. Check each potential agent’s background and experience. Choose an agent you’re most comfortable working with. It’s important to see eye-to-eye with your agent when house hunting; it’ll save you and your agent a lot of time.

1 – 2 Months Prior to buying

Begin House Hunting – Start setting up appointments to view houses, and visit open houses. Compare the houses you’ve looked at. It’s a good idea to list the pros and cons of each property. Perhaps a larger bath is more important than closet space, or maybe a nice deck is high on your priority list. Eventually, the perfect house will present itself.

Get a Loan – After you’ve found the right place, you’ll need to get a loan. There are numerous loans available, so do your research on the type that’s best for you. Your lender will help you with the documentation needed and paperwork involved during the process. Mortgage rates fluctuate, so a disparity could exist between your pre-approved quote and your actual loan.

30 days prior to closing

Stay in contact – Stay in contact with your agent often – they will handle most of the closing details and communications with the closing company or attorney. During the process additional information will be needed, so try to get the needed information as soon as possible to your agent or lender so they can forward it in a timely manner to ensure the closing goes smoothly.


  1. I appreciate this list that you put together especially the part about getting pre-approval on your mortgage. This would definitely save individuals a lot of disappointment as a first-time home buyer. In addition, I think one basic step we often miss is the importance for buyers to save as much as they can as a down-payment. Thanks again for the blog.

    • Bob Wert says:

      Thanks for the reply – yes I agree, often people overlook this important first step in buying a home – Preapproval. Thanks Steve!

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