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First-Time Home Buying Guide

Prepare to become a homeowner with Money Under 36's first-time home buyer's guide.

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Buying a home is a big deal.

Too often, I think people rush into home ownership because it’s seen as a sign of adulthood and financial responsibility.

But owning a home is a big commitment, it’s not a guaranteed good investment, and it’s a truckload of work. (I’ve been a homeowner for only two years and I already have a growing list of things to do and contractors to call…it’s not always the creative paradise remodeling shows make it out to be).

And last but not least, believe me, lots of people own homes and yet their finances are a mess! Home ownership can be a smart long-term move, but you want to know what you’re getting into.

With that said, I know that if you’re reading this, you’re probably going to buy a house anyway. That’s fine; I did too. So here I’ve put together a first time home buying guide to wrap up our best advice over the last few years in once place. Enjoy!

How to buy your first home

Ask yourself: ‘Is it really time for me to buy a home?’

Don’t buy a home just because everybody’s doing it (they’re not) or because your Uncle Joe told you that it’s stupid to “throw money away” on rent (he’s wrong, too).

Don’t buy a home because it’s a buyer’s market or just because of low mortgage rates. Buy a home because you want to be a homeowner. Buy a home because you’re settling down and need a place for live for at least five years. And only buy a home if you’re financially ready.

Determine how you will afford your home

For most of us, our home is the most expensive thing we’ll ever buy. And for most of us, we need one big loan to do it—a mortgage.

If you remember all the foreclosures that happened during the recession, a mortgage is not something to be taken lightly.

To pay for your first home, you’ll need good credit, a steady job, and a sizable chunk of cash for a down payment. Navigating the waters of home financing isn’t always easy, but these articles can help guide you.

Articles

Resources

Go shopping for your first home

Avoid creating a financial disaster by preparing your finances before going house hunting!

In a perfect world, you would commit to buying a home and get mortgage pre-approval before stepping foot into your first open house. Obviously, it may be you didn’t realize you wanted to own a home until you see your dream home. Either way, shopping for a home can be a long and taxing experience.

Resources

Seal the deal at closing

As if getting a mortgage and finding the perfect house wasn’t enough, you’ll soon learn that it’s only half of the home-buying process.

Here are few final tips before you head out there on your own:

And, that’s a wrap! Our first time home buying guide. Hope it’s useful. Do let us know what you think and if there are any topics you’d like to see us cover in the future! Happy home buying!

Explore our archive for many more articles on real estate and home buying

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Comments

We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 36.

  1. Keith Gumbinger says:

    First-time homebuyers face challenges, no doubt. That said, the availability of mortgages down payments as low as 3% (FHA requires 3.5%, Conventional 97, HomeReady and HomePossible all as little as 3%) mean that you might not need to save for years to have enough for a down payment (even if a larger down payment is usually a good idea).

    As well, with student-loan debts high (and, per a recent Federal Reserve study, a deterrent to buying a home), it may be valuable to some first-time buyers that Fannie Mae will back loans to borrowers with debt-to-income levels of as high as 50%. This can mean that first-time homebuyers whose future potential income prospects are good may be able to get home sooner.

  2. Rosie Beckett says:

    My husband and I are planning to buy our first home soon and we have no experience in home buying, so I am glad that I found this article. You make a great point that you should first think about your budget and choose a home that you can afford. Also, I appreciate that you say house hunting can be hard and very time-consuming, so we will definitely think about hiring a realtor to help us with this process.

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