The Do’s And Don’ts Of First-Time Home Buying


First-time home buyers often overlook some very important aspects of the buying process for no other reason than they are excited! Excited to enter into the housing market as homeowners instead of renters or roommates and excited to fulfill what might have been a dream for a long time. Use this list of do’s and don’ts to ensure you have a positive first-time home buying experience.

Your List Of DO’s

  1. DO partner with a reputable and experienced realtor.
  • A good realtor is a powerhouse of resources and information vital to the entire transaction. A good real estate agent will also have top notch negotiating skills necessary for a positive outcome.
  1. DO get pre-approved.
  2. DO consider resale value.
  • Most often, your first home will not be your last. In the event you want or need to sell this home, you’ll want it to have the potential to sell quickly.
  1. DO clearly define your wants vs. your needs.
  • It is rare to find a home that will match every single thing on your wish list. Prepare a reasonable list of things you absolutely MUST have and a separate list of things you would really WANT to have. For example, a good school district might be on your must have list, while a finished basement might be on your want list.
  1. DO have a home inspection.
  • A home inspector will be able to point out potential problems or hidden issues. You can then use these items as points to renegotiate the selling price. It is always better to be prepared and aware of problems then to find out about them when it is too late.

Your List Of Don’ts

  1. DON’T forget to budget for more than just the mortgage payment.
  • Getting that preapproval number doesn’t mean to go out and find a home for that price. You must factor in the additional expenses like utilities, current credit card or student loan debt, entertainment, and more.
  1. DON’T underestimate closing costs.
  • You should plan for two to five percent of the selling price as closing costs.
  1. DON’T make an offer on the first house you see.
  • Of course there are exceptions to this, but it is in your best interest to see more than one home. Unless it is THE perfect home, looking at multiple homes will reduce the risk of experiencing buyer’s remorse.
  1. DON’T plan on your first offer being accepted.
  • If it is, great!! You’d be one of the lucky ones. It is best to be prepared for your first offer to be countered, unless you offering full asking price.
  1. DON’T get caught up on cosmetics!
  • Every paint color, carpet, and personal choice in the home can be changed. Instead, focus on the size of the rooms, the location of the home, the things that cannot be changed. Do keep in mind though, that everything you want to change, no matter how minor, comes with a price tag. Remember to include that in your budget before making an offer.
Buying a home, especially your first home, can and should be one of the most exciting times of your life. Use these tips to help ensure a less stressful experience and avoid surprises. It always pays to be prepared! Happy house hunting!
Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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