Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, financially and otherwise. When you buy a home you’re deciding on the region you want to live in, where you might want to raise children, and the people you’ll live around for likely many years.

You’re also signing up for all of the responsibilities that come with a home: utility bills, issues and repairs, cleaning the house, maintaining the yard… the list goes on.

So, before plunging into a mortgage, check off all the items on this checklist to determine if you’re ready for home ownership.

The First Time Home Buyer’s Checklist:

  1. I know where I want to live.
    Determining the location of your home is one of the most important factors that goes into home buying. Most decisions are influenced by your job/career, but things like family, friends and weather are all important things to consider.
    Aside from knowing where you want to live, you’ll also need to know how long you want to stay. As a general rule, if you don’t plan on staying in your home for at least 5-8 years it could be cheaper and easier to rent until you find somewhere you’d like to settle in.
  2. I have my finances under control.
    You don’t need to be wealthy to buy a home, but you do need to have a strong understanding of your personal finances. In a spreadsheet, write down your total savings, monthly income and monthly expenses (including groceries, transportation, bills, and loans). Find out what type of mortgage and downpayment you can afford at your income level.
  3. My income is dependable.
    When you apply for a home loan the bank will look into this for you. But you should also want to make sure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments. How dependable is your job? Are there a lot of job opportunities in your field and in your area? These are all questions that help you determine the stability of your income.
  4. I have a good credit score.
    Your credit will be a big factor in getting approved for a home loan. Building credit seems complicated but it’s based on four main things: paying bills on time, keeping balances relatively low, having a long record of repayment, and not opening several new cards or taking on multiple loans in a short period of time.
  5. I’m pre-approved for a loan.
    Getting pre-approved isn’t mandatory, but it offers many benefits. First, it shows lenders that you are a safe person to loan money to. Second, it will give you insight into what banks think of your finances and will give you an idea of what price range you can safely buy in.
  6. I’m prepared for the responsibilities of owning a home and willing to learn.
    If you’re handy around the house and can fix anything, that’s great. What’s more important, however, is that you have the time and willingness to learn new skills that will help you become a good homeowner.

When you’re ready to buy a house, it would be easy to just pick a house and sign the papers, right? Too bad it doesn’t work anything like that! Besides getting your finances in order, there are plenty of things that you should do ahead of time to get yourself ready to buy a home. Choosing a relator should be high on that list of priorities.  

Do Your Research

There’s plenty of ways for you to search for a home before you even start in order to decide what you might like before you even set out with a realtor. Once you start working with a realtor, they’ll be able to set up alerts for you to get via e-mail where you’ll be able to see new properties that have just been listed and price changes to previously listed properties. 

Let Your Realtor Do Their Job 

Realtors are experts in homes. It is in their job description! Your realtor will do the research on prices and property details. An important aspect of the housing search is finding the price of similar homes in the area. This is key to making your offer. Your real estate agent has all of the information that you need.

Hang Out With Your Realtor During The House Hunt

When we say that you’ll have a close relationship with your realtor during the home search process, we mean it. Coordinate with your realtor to go to open houses. Your agent will either accompany you to the open house or make appointments for private showings of properties. Even if you have to bring your child and a carseat, your agent will be more than happy to accommodate you! 

Mention Properties You See When You’re Out And About


The realtor has your criteria of what you’re looking for in a home. However, if you’re out and see a home for sale that intrigues you, write down the address and contact your agent about it. They can either arrange a private showing of the property or advise you otherwise. Many times, a property may be out of your price range or have strange circumstances. However, occasionally, agents and computer software miss things! It’s always good to be on the lookout and seek more information.      

Don’t Hesitate To Really Look Around A Property


Although you may feel that you’re being a bit invasive by opening drawers, closets and doors in a home, it’s very important to! You need to see how you can make the best use of the storage space within the home for yourself. You’ll also want to make sure there’s no significant damage or hidden features that you’re missing out on.

Most importantly, remember that your realtor will be your ally throughout the house hunting process.  You want to make the best use of the great resource that your realtor is!  

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Cultivating Hot Pepoes

On February 21, 2017 By
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