The First-time Homebuyer Checklist and Home Buying Process Roadmap

Photo of a couple in their house holding each other. The man is holding up house keys in celebration of buying their home.

How long is the home buying process? You may be tempted to start going to open houses immediately, but there are a handful of things you should do before getting serious about the home buying process checklist

Just a few of the things you’ll want to do consist of speaking with a mortgage lender, securing financing, and then working with a real estate agent to have your offer accepted on your way to closing.

We hope you will keep on reading to be guided along the first-time homebuyer’s roadmap with this step-by-step home buying process guide from the professionals at Big Valley Mortgage.

Meet with a Mortgage Lender

Even if you aren’t ready to apply for a loan, talking with a mortgage lender should be the initial step in the first-time home-buying process. A mortgage lender can determine whether you’re financially ready to buy a home and what price range you should be looking at. We call this the loan process roadmap.

An experienced lender can inform you what measures you need to take if you aren’t in a good position to secure financing, such as improving your credit. Why should you start with a mortgage lender? It’s best to get expert counsel from the start!

It’s all too easy to make misinformed decisions that can impact the home buying process timeline. A knowledgeable lender can prevent that from happening.

Get Your Finances in Order

If a lender has given you advice on how to get your finances set for a mortgage, stick to it. To get your finances in the best possible shape, you may need to take a few steps. No matter what the lender tells you, improving on some areas is never a bad idea! This approach may include:

  • Saving for a down payment
  • Improving your credit score (the higher, the better)
  • Having more funds for closing costs
  • Paying down outstanding debt

Doing these things can increase the amount you’re approved for, thus getting you into a nicer home.

A Variety of Mortgage Options

The mortgage alternatives available to you will be determined, in part, by your financial condition. Though some first-time buyers may be scraping by and seeking the smallest down payment possible, this isn’t necessarily the best option.

It’s ideal to speak with a mortgage lender to determine the best loan for you, which isn’t always the one that gets you into a property with the smallest down payment. You could be eligible for a variety of home loans, which may include first-time homebuyer incentives.

Alternatives include conventional loans such as those associated with FannieMae or FreddieMac, as well as those insured by the Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs, or the United States Department of Agriculture, all of which need little or no down payment.

Get Pre-Approved!

A mortgage pre-approval can explain a lot of things regarding your financial situation when it comes to purchasing your first house. It will inform you how much you can spend, tell you which mortgage programs you qualify for, and provide you with a preapproval letter that makes your offers stand out to sellers.

Most sellers want proof of pre-approval before accepting an offer. Sellers may reject your offer if you don’t have a preapproval letter. Even so, a preapproval assures them that you have the means to purchase the property.

If you’re self-employed, this step can be a bit taxing. Make sure you have all of your documents ready, including pay stubs, tax returns, and recent bank statements.

Request a Quote

If you’re ready to take one of the first steps in owning your own home, congratulations! Now that you know how to start the home-buying process, what are you waiting for? Big Valley Mortgage would love to discuss home buying options with you.

Potential buyers are able to easily request a quote and get all of the vital information they need to start the home search!