Congratulations! You have reached the point where you are ready to start the search to the ultimate American Dream: owning your own home. However, you know that this is an incredible investment. Where do you get started? What should you do ahead of time to ensure you stay on track to get the home of your dreams (and the home that you can afford)? What common mistakes should you avoid? These are all questions that first time home buyers (and even second, third, and sometimes fourth time home buyers) find themselves asking.

That is why we have pulled together an easy-to-read first time home buyers guide/checklist which will help you navigate your first time home purchase like a pro and score the perfect home.

10 First-Time Home Buyer Tips

  1. Start your research early. You spend time online reading reviews and comparing products before making purchases, right? Make sure you do the same when it comes to home buying – likely one of your largest investments. Try to start this process at least 6 to 12 months before making a purchase or final decision on a home. This will allow you time to shop around and determine what you truly value in a home.
  2. Find out what you qualify for. Go into the home buying process with a clear understanding of what you qualify for vs. what you don’t, so that you can easily weed out homes that may be completely out-of-budget. Not sure how to determine this amount? Try this free and easy-to-use calculator from
  3. Find out what you can afford to pay on a monthly basis and still live comfortably. Do you want to live paycheck to paycheck for the nicest home in town? Or would you rather live more conservatively, with a fixer-upper style home? These are all things to consider. Not sure how to determine this? Try using this trusted mortgage calculator for affordable pricing in your area.
  4. Determine home size vs. location. Sometimes you may not be able to have both. Determine which is more important to you: home size or location, and which you are willing to sacrifice. If choosing location, try to scout out the neighbors ahead of time to ensure you won’t have too many unwanted “surprises” (i.e.: constant noise, if you have a newborn or young children in your home).
  5. Have money in the bank. The more you can put towards a down payment, the less you will likely pay in interest over time. This can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars in the long run. Start saving NOW!
  6. Consider additional expenses. Remember that once you purchase your home, you will not only be responsible for the monthly house payment, but also any other expenses that may occur, such as property taxes, any areas that need fixed due to weather damage, and the like.
  7. Make a list of wants vs. needs, and don’t be too picky. It is important to write down what you want and what you need in a house, so that you can make sure you don’t lose sight of your vision of your perfect home. However, make sure you can distinguish those wants vs. needs, to avoid getting “too picky” in the long run.
  8. Make sure you inspect. It’s important that both you and an authorized inspector do a thorough home inspection on the house you are considering purchasing. Here is an easy-to-follow guide to help you start the inspection process on your own. Failing to inspect can lead to headaches (and shelling out more money than expected) in the future.
  9. Don’t commit before you are ready. Buying a home is a huge commitment. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you sign the papers.
  10. Hire an agent. If you are unsure of what questions to ask, how to do your research, or don’t want to deal with the mess of paperwork that the home buying process can entail, don’t hesitate to reach out and use the helpful services of a local real estate agent. Real estate agents go through extensive training to help ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck, as well as the home of your dreams.  Check out our blog, Why Use a Realtor.

While the list of first time home buyer’s tips goes on and on, there are also 5 main mistakes you want to avoid when going through the home buying process.

5 First Time Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Skipping mortgage qualification.
  2. Being swept away
  3. Failing to plan a budget.
  4. Neglecting to inspect.
  5. Failing to save ahead of time.

Are you a first time home buyer and have questions on how to get started? Give the experts at Lakeshore REALTORS a call (419) 586-6427 or contact us today!

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