Home Buyers Checklist: A Complete Guide for First-Time Homeowners

home buyers checklist

Buying your first house? How exciting! And… maybe a little overwhelming.

If you’ve never bought a home before, the process can seem confusing and frustrating at first.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy dandy little home buyers checklist to help make things a little simpler.

Keep reading for budget advice, mortgage information, home inspection tips, and more!

Home Buyers Checklist: 6 Simple Steps to Owning Your New Home

1. Determine Your Budget

The first step in buying a house is to figure out what you can actually afford. You will need to consider the following factors:

  • Income: What is your current monthly income?
  • Credit score: If you don’t already know it, check your credit score! This will have an impact on your eligibility for good mortgage rates.
  • Current debts: What kind of monthly payments do you have already, and how will a mortgage payment affect your budget?
  • Closing costs, realtor fees, and other home-buying costs: Remember that you will also have to pay for things like an appraisal, a home inspection report, etc. These costs will vary depending on the house, but can often cost upwards of $3000.

After looking at all these factors, you will be better equipped to decide what your price range is when shopping for a new home.

2. Talk to a Mortgage Lender & Get Your Finances Ready

There are many types of mortgages and lenders available. Do your research to find out what’s best for you.

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Depending on your situation, you may qualify for a government-based loan such as an FHA loan for first-time home-buyers or a VA loan for veterans and military members. One of the benefits of government-backed loans is that they usually require lower down payments for a mortgage.

Conventional mortgages are offered by private banks and lending institutions, and they often require larger down payments.

Once you’ve found the right lender, get a preapproval letter showing how much you are qualified for. This will help to show home sellers that you are a serious buyer.

3. Find a Real Estate Agent

Especially if it is your first time buying a home, an experienced real estate agent is invaluable. They will work with you and your budget to help you find the best house for you.

4. Find Your Property & Make an Offer

Once you’ve found a house that you like, go ahead and make an offer. This will help to secure your claim on the house.

You want to make an offer before getting an appraisal or a home inspection report so that you won’t be paying for those things unnecessarily on a home that you don’t even have a contract on yet.

5. Get a Home Inspection

Whatever you do, don’t skip a home inspection report! What do home inspectors look for, you ask? Home inspectors are checking the house to see if anything is damaged or in need of repair. A typical home inspection checklist looks something like this:

  • Roof
  • Windows and doors
  • Attic
  • Foundation
  • Walls, ceiling, and floors
  • Interior plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • HVAC
  • Visible insulation
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The above items give you a good idea of what to look for when inspecting a house.

Sometimes home buyers choose to buy a home that needs repairs, known as fixer-uppers. They may want to purchase at a lower price and continue investing their time into making their new home beautiful.

Handy types may be able to do a lot of remodeling by themselves, but some areas often require extra assistance from a professional. For example, if you buy a home that needs roof repairs, you’ll want to consider this important information about hiring a roofer.

6. Close on the Sale!

Once you’ve completed the inspection, it’s time to move forward with closing on your new home! Closing day involves a lot of signatures on important paperwork, including signing the deed of the home, mortgage paperwork, the promissory note, and a settlement statement.

Now You’re a Homeowner!

We hope that this home buyers checklist has helped take away some of the stress of buying a house for the first time. Check back often for more helpful articles like this one!

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