5 Essential Tips For First-Time Homebuyers

As of August 31st, Caleb and I are officially homeowners! Yay! We love our new house! As with any new house, there are some things that we want to change, but it is such a good fit for us and we are excited to live here for many years to come. Overall, our home-buying process went smoothly, which we are very thankful for. Today, I want to shareΒ with youΒ 5 essential tips for first-time homebuyers! I hope these tips help your home-buying process to go as smoothly as ours did! πŸ™‚

Essential Tips First-Time Homebuyers

Make a list of wants and needs.

Before you even start looking at homes (back away from realtor.com), you need to make a list of wants and needs. This helps you to go into the house hunt with a clear focus. You may want a pool, but if it’s not a deal-breaker, make sure it goes on the want list. This will allow you to prioritize your actual needs over what would just be really cool to have. Of course, sometimes you can get all your wants AND needs, but it’s always best to assume that you won’t and to focus on your needs. This helped us to wisely choose a house that met all of our needs over a house that only half-met most of our needs.

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Check your financing options.

There are lots of financing options available, no matter what stage of life you are in, so make sure you explore and see what all is out there! We started with an online loan company, moved to a bank, and ended up getting a loan from a family member. Of course, that is not an option for everyone, but make sure you check with multiple financial institutions and loan companies to see who will give you the best interest rate. Also consider who you feel the most comfortable with. We did not enjoy working with an online loan company because everything was over the phone or Internet, but if that makes you comfortable, then that may be the perfect option for you! Just make sure you do your research before you make a commitment. You don’t want to buy a home with any regrets.

Don’t go house poor.

Here’s the thing, guys. I don’t think banks and loan companies are evil, but I do think they know how to make the maximum amount of money that they can, and I think they use that to their advantage. Once we had narrowed our search down to two houses, we knew the maximum amount of money we would need was $50,000. However, one loan company offered us up to $100,000. Simply put, there is no way on God’s green earth that we could ever afford a monthly payment on a $100,000 loan without selling our firstborn’s birthright. Yet, they were willing to lend us that money so that they would make more money off interest. Not cool. For us, we figured out our maximum payment that we could make every Β month, and we would not take a loan that was over that amount. Otherwise, we would be house poor, and every month would be a stretch, just so we could have a nice home. It’s not worth it, friends. Don’t do it. Figure out your top dollar and stick to it, even if they’ll give you more money.

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Consider the future.

It came down to two houses for us: a small two bedroom with no room for expansion, or a larger three bedroom with room to create additional bedrooms, if necessary. Since we had just found out that we were expecting our first child, the choice was a no-brainer. We picked the three bedroom. Of course, many young couples can’t afford a house this big to start off with, and that’s okay. But consider the future when buying a home. If you are expecting your first baby, it’s probably not smart to buy a one bedroom that you can’t grow into. But, like I said, you don’t want to go house poor either. So consider your financial options, your near-future needs, and even resale value before jumping into a home purchase.

Communicate with the seller, your realtor, bank, title company, etc.

This was the only hiccup in our home-buying process. We live in a very small town, so we didn’t use a realtor. It was just us, the sellers, and the title company. Due to some miscommunication in multiple channels, we were not able to close on our original closing date, we ended up having to have the papers redrawn, and we didn’t close until a week later. It all ended up working out fine, but make sure that you communicate with everyone involved. Make sure that the correct information is on the title and mortgage papers, know exactly what you need to bring to closing, and discuss what you can do to make this process go smoothly. You will save yourself a lot of time and headaches if you communicate throughout the closing process and make sure everything is taken care of.

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There they are, friends! My top 5Β essential tips for first-time homebuyers! We are so blessed to own a home at such a young age and in our first year of marriage. God has truly provided for us, and we are so thankful! I hope that your process goes just as smoothly and that these tips give you the guidance that you need! πŸ™‚

Now it’s your turn! What advice would you give to first-time homebuyers? Do you have a home-buying story to share?

Want to see more? Follow Small Town Soul on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!Β And don’t forget to share this with someone who would enjoy it! πŸ™‚

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40 Replies to “5 Essential Tips For First-Time Homebuyers”

    1. Thanks, Laura! There is definitely soooo much to think about, and it can be so overwhelming! But once you get through the process, it’s such a great feeling! Good luck on your house hunt! πŸ™‚

  1. These are great tips! Before we bought our house, Hubs and I talked about what we wanted vs. needed in our home. It made the searching process so much easier because we already knew what our deal-breakers were. Congratulations on your new home!!!

  2. These are great tips! When my husband and I bought a house we made sure to stand firm on how much we were willing to spend. Neither one of us wanted to be house poor. We ended up with the perfect house God had for set aside just for us! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m SO pinning this for later. I’m getting married next year and one of my goals is to spend as little time as possible stuck living in apartments. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great tips! I think it is super important to make sure you know what you can afford (without going house poor as you mentioned) before looking for that new home!

  5. Great advice! I especially love the third one. Just because a bank or mortgage company says you can afford it does NOT mean you can. A car dealership once wanted to finance a $40,000 car for my husband and I when we weren’t even making that much combined in a year. Yeah, no. It’s your responsibility to know your own finances.

  6. Great tips! I was lucky enough to inherit my grandmas house but I’ve had so many friends get the most expensive house they could afford only to lose it because they couldn’t make those ridiculously high payments for 30+ years. It’s always wise to live well within your means πŸ™‚ Congrats on the new house btw

    1. Thank you, Melanie! That is wonderful that you were able to inherit a home. Sadly, so many people do go house poor and aren’t able to stay in their homes. It’s so important to make wise financial choices in the beginning! πŸ™‚

  7. We’re buying a home soon so these are great tips! Our city is very expensive and it’s so tempting to get into a big pretty house. But you’re right, it’s so not worth being house poor. I wanna be able to decorate our home and buy things we need! Thanks for this πŸ™‚

  8. I am so scared about the prospect of buying a house – especially in LA where I live. The market is terribly expensive, and the offerings are NOT what I want. I am being insanely picky, which I think is a good thing, I don’t just want to throw away money… But at times I feel like the fiance gets really impatient because he is dying to settle down and have projects.

    1. It’s definitely one of the biggest decisions that you’ll make! Look for places you could compromise and hopefully you’ll be able to find a house that fits all of your needs and most of your wants! πŸ™‚

  9. Yes to don’t go house poor! Everything costs far more than you think, so if you can barely swing a $250k mortgage you actually truly can’t afford the house because when your water heater, HVAC or main water line goes out, you’ll have no money in savings to pay for it. Love your tips! They’re spot on.

  10. These are great tips! I bought my first home late last year and I wish I had come across your post then – some of these things I had to learn the hard way, haha!

  11. Yes, these are so important! When my husband and I were looking for a home, I could not believe how much the bank “approved” us for — it was definitely an amount we could not have truly afforded based on our budgets! It’s so important to not be romanced by that number. Good for you for making a wise decision!

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