The lighter side of real estate

64 Tips from Top Agents for First-Time Home Buyers

If you're thinking about purchasing a home, check out these 67 tips from Movoto's Partner Agents.

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166 articles, 142 comments

Have a goal

Set Your Expectations

1. Set the correct expectations. Take out a blank piece of paper and write out your wish list.
Dulce Monahan

2. There is no such thing as the perfect home, but there is a home that is perfect for you.
Sheena Weatherly

3. Make sure you know what you want before starting the buying process.
Ashly Haley

4. Be prepared! Have a list of your “wants” created, and all your financial documents lined up with the lender so you know how much buying power you really have.
Stacey Rider

5. Be patient and realistic when looking for your first home. It is important to find a home within your financial position at the time of purchase. Remember, your first home most likely won’t be your last.
Kyle Seyboth

How Much Can You Afford?

6. Have a budget. It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many first-time home buyers don’t know how much money they have to spend on their new house.
Walter Black

7. Figure out your personal budget to determine how much you can truly afford, then get pre-qualified and compare the amounts. Use the lowest of the two.
Jorge Fernandez

8. Purchase a home that you can afford.
Reynalda Chavez

9. Keep your mortgage within your budget and find a neighborhood that has amenities that will fit your needs.
Daniel Sompolski

10. Protect yourself: Get pre-qualified for a mortgage so you don’t spend more than you can afford for a home.
Anthony Leone

Consider if It Is Better to Rent or Own

11. Don’t forget that rent is a variable,; it will likely be much higher five years from now.
Daniel Locascio

12. The real estate market has made it cheaper to own than rent.
Darryl Williams

13. Know the trade offs of renting verses owning.
Ajay Jagga

14. When considering your price point, start with the amount of rent you are paying now, not necessarily what the bank/mortgage company says they will loan you.
Debra Grog

Educate Yourself on Local Market Conditions

15. Interest rates are still low.
Tatiana Guila

16. Buyers have to be aware of market conditions.
Margoth Sinclair

17. You will probably move in the next seven years, so make sure to think about resale value in the near future.
Barry Krupp

18. The market hit its bottom last year. So far, this year’s prices are up by about 10 percent since last year’s and home values are continuing to increase.
Martin Miller

19. The market is shifting, so you have to be aggressive with your home search because properties are selling quicker with multiple offers.
Alice Green

Learn about the Buying Process

learn about the process
20. Do not get too emotional about the house until escrow is closed. Things can go wrong during the offer submitted through close of escrow.
Wenny Gunawan

21. Do your homework!
Cheryl Melomet

22. Don’t get hung up on price. The question should be: Does this purchase improve your living?
Bill Miller

How to Choose the Right Home

23. Choose the property according to your needs.
Nefer Londono

24. The most important thing when buying a home is location, location, location!
Jeffrey Fairchild

25. Love what you buy.
Anita Zubov

26. When you feel the feeling of finding your dream, act quickly.
Jay Talenda

27. Take the time to search for a home that suits you and meets your personal/financial needs.
Carlos Armas

28. Buy the “most house” that you can comfortably buy, and, even perhaps, push yourself to the limit of your pre-approved amount. Thus, you will be satisfied with your purchase for a longer period of time.
Charles Lipford

Find Out How Much Financing You’re Eligible For

29. Do not look for a home for the amount you are qualified to buy with your mortgage agent. Ask him to tell you how much you can buy based on the mortgage amount you are comfortable paying every month.
Charles Miltenberger

30. Have a good conversation with a loan officer or mortgage broker to check all the options regarding financing.
Ximena Alzate

31. It’s essential to get pre-approved for a loan.
Laurie Shapiro

32. Know your finances and speak to a lender first.
Sheryl Dicarlo

33. There are a lot of opportunities out there for financing, no matter your credit score.
Ronnie Sanchez

Why You Should Get Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved

Real Estate Tips

Source: Flickr user Tax Credits

34. Have a buyers’ agent and a qualification letter from a mortgage company or bank. It’s very disappointing to see a home you can not afford and waste time, energy, and emotions.
Lucretia Lehrmann

35. Speak with a mortgage person to understand what you can afford. You will be so disappointed if you fall in love with a home outside of your price range.
Kay Parker

36. Get pre-qualified so that you know your buying power and limitations. Also don’t expect perfection out of your first home purchase.
Cathy Allan

37. Get pre-approval before your search for property. Due to the low inventory, it’s necessary to submit a pre-approval with an offer, and without it, you can possibly lose out on a sale.
Patricia Moccia

38. Be pre-approved. Having an approval in hand gets a buyer to the front of the line in making offers.
Christina Jasso

39. Use a trusted mortgage partner for pre-qualification before you start looking for a home. You may be looking in the wrong price range and wasting your time.
Javier Zapien

Are There Any Incentives Available to You?

40. Know any state-level financing incentives or regulations.
George Stapleton

41. Learn about downpayment incentives.
Andres Buitrago

42. Get pre-qualified by a mortgage company prior to begin searching for a home and see what special programs are offered to first-time home buyers.
Mary Ellis

43. Thoroughly talk with a lender about your pre-approval process and programs available to you through grants and state bonds.
Paulette Korr

Make Sure You Know about all the Expenses of Owning

44. Remember that besides the mortgage payment you will also pay for your home insurance and the property taxes.
Ann and Robert Gephart

45. Get educated on downpayment, closing cost, and what your new home payment will be.
Adam Robbins

46. Create a list of pros and cons associated with home ownership. Pros will include income tax deductions, building equity, etc. The cons include fears and disadvantages of home ownership—which will most likely include maintenance responsibilities etc. These lists will help you reaffirm your decisions and will help put your fears into perspective.
Noreleen De Mesa

How To Choose a Real Estate Agent

work together
47. Ask to see past references.
Kathy Worthen

48. Choose an agent based on their knowledge, experience, and work ethic. Then allow them to guide you.
Nick Boland

49. Set a face-to-face meeting with your Realtor to discuss the home buying process.
Mark Dimas

50. Ask your friends and co-workers for recommendations for great local lenders and Realtors.
Helen Hunt

What Real Estate Agents Do

51. Hire a real estate agent who understands your concerns and educates you. Ask this agent questions throughout the process so that you better understand the entire process.
Carol Manning

52. Make sure you find an agent that educates you thoroughly about the buying process and the market, and that they then empower you to make educated decisions.
Jim Holt

53. Get a Realtor that explains the process and walks you through every facet of the buying process. This is critical to avoid costly mistakes.
Luis Rocafort

54. Make sure you like your Realtor and mortgage broker. We are here to help you find what they are looking for and hold your hand in the entire process.
Mardjan Barimani

Qualities of a Great Real Estate Agent

55. Work with a Realtor and be sure that Realtor represents your interests, not the Seller.
Marty Martinez

56. Make certain that you have a buyer’s agent to represent your best interests.
Cynthia McKenna

57. Make sure that whoever you are working with is someone you can trust and that will put your interests in front of their own. If they care enough, they will ask you lots of questions!
Steven Pagano

58. Be absolutely certain that you align with the right real estate broker and loan officer. A good real estate team will help a buyer purchase a home that fits well within their budget.
Randy Schulenburg

59. All Realtors are not created equally and should hire a professional, competent and knowledgeable Realtor that can explain the process.
Alexander Vazquez

60. Work with an agent close to or within your market area, as their experience on local market trends is invaluable. Also ensure that their agent is a full-time agent.
Alfred Saiz

Benefits of a Real Estate Agent

61. A good Realtor can help you navigate the process while providing you expert guidance and advice.
Zilkia Martins

62. Markets vary from one another and a good agent can give you local information based on experience.
Fredy Gonzalez

63. Work with an experienced Realtor in the immediate area. Out of area Realtors do not know the immediate market therefore cannot always provide detailed information about neighborhoods and market conditions.
Sue Enos

64. Find a Realtor that truly understands property values where you are shopping. They can assist you in establishing your offer price.
David Berganski

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posted on: November 15, 2013
34,273 views, 11 comments


  1. Donna M Cook

    Use a Mortgage Broker not a big bank Loan/Mortgage officer. Use a Buyer’s Agent who can answer all your questions and stay loyal.

  2. Jeff

    As a real estate agent in Raleigh, I agree with all the points you make about the benefits of hiring a real estate agent. It’s hard to search for homes to buy, on your own. It’s also hard to put offers in and counter offer, without the advice of an expert. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sandi Walker

    Great post. I am a real estate agent in Oklahoma City. I think it is really important to trust the realtor you are working with and that the Realtor specializes in the area that you are wanting to buy. Ask lots of questions always. I believe that an educated buyer makes a better buyer, which is why I volunteer once a month to teach at a local non profit.

  4. Noreleen

    As a real estate agent in San Francisco, I am also agree with you that First-Time Home Buyers should hire real estate agent. It is very tough to search for home because Home buyers don’t have the knowledge about real estate industry, so it is very important for home buyers to hire real estate agent or realtor before buying a home.

  5. Glenn Hudson

    Why are so many sellers pricing their homes above market. Area I’m looking in 10-60 thousand above current market.

  6. Eric

    Nice advice !!

  7. Diana Lansman

    The Fresno/Clovis area is a great place to live. There are walking trails and beautiful parks in the Woodward Park area. Also, the mirror image of Clovis, with great schools, walking trails, parks, shops, is the Herndon/Milburn area. Call me today for more information about any home. 559-287-7290

  8. Maurice Gilmore

    A professional Realtor will listen to the client carefully. After understanding the client’s needs and wants he or she will be able to better satisfy those needs. I personally take notes, because I want to do it RIGHT the first time.

  9. Carmina

    I’m buying a home and the seller has people living inside the house, I’m supposed to sign the escrow papers tomorrow but today we went to the walkthrough inside the house and the people living there are not even starting packing, what can I do? Do I go ahead and sign the escrow? How can I make sure that they will leave after I sign?, will they be my problem? Escrow was supposed to be 45 days long and 3 days to move after that, but these people have a mess in the house and no signs of packing please help we are first time buyers


    Create a complete list of the properties you want to stay in, where you want your place and how you want it. Make a rough design of your future home the way you want it. Reviewing the likes of architect appointed for your project will prove beneficial in terms of efficient planning and layout of the apartments.

  11. Ellie Haldi

    I am thrilled that I found this article! You have really made your points clear and your material is easy to read because you have formatted it so well. Thank you for your excellent work!


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