Home Buying Checklist for First Time Buyers

Buying a home is no simple feat, but purchasing your first home is in a league of its own.

The amount of preparation, research and time that goes into the process of buying a home for the first time is certainly daunting. However, the payoff is well worth it. To alleviate some of the pressure and intimidation that accompanies home-buying, ESTATENVY spoke with Sheila Chappell-Peterson, a mortgage loan officer with North Shore Trust and Savings, to go over essential items that every new buyer should have on their checklist.

The first order of business when looking to purchase a home is to ensure that your finances are in order. Get pre-approved for a mortgage, make sure credit score is up to date and begin saving money for a down payment.

The importance of a pre-approval, Chappell-Peterson said, is for buyers to know where they stand and what they’ll qualify for before conducting a proper search. That way, no time is wasted on prospects that will ultimately be out of grasp. In addition to pre-approval Chappell-Peterson deems it worthy to look into training programs.

“There are several homebuyer’s education courses and payment assistance programs worth looking into,” she said. “Some are required and are associated with a fee, but they are beneficial when seeking guidance and background.”

Once a clear financial standing is established, the house hunt is on. Next steps are to research neighborhoods and put together a must-have list containing the amenities and features that would be considered deal-breakers if the home isn’t equipped with them.

Next on the checklist is choosing an agent. It’s crucial to pick a realtor you trust and get along with and let them take the lead from there, as their job is to educate and do what’s best for the client.

When the chosen home is ready, buyers will be asked to put in a bid and prepare to provide a down payment. The chosen agent will help with this process and submit a sales contract to be presented on the buyer’s behalf.

If the bid wins, the contract will be delivered back to the lender who issued the loan pre-approval, and the application process begins.

After closing costs and a signed lease, your dream home becomes your reality. The next and final steps include finding homeowner’s insurance and filing the property address.

Buying a first home is exciting, stressful and meticulous. Chappell-Peterson advises doing your due diligence to cover every step ahead of the search.

“The more educated you are on the process; the better experience you’ll have.”