First Time Homebuyer

If you have never purchased a home before there is much to learn. For the steps involved in a typical purchase, below are some tips for the home buying process. Be patient with your Broker, Lender and yourself, this is a big decision and takes time. 

Several non-profits offer classes, at no cost or a very low cost. These classes are designed to educate you on homeownership, the process, and so much more.

Mortgage Calculator Link

Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC)

The MCC allows qualifying borrowers to receive an annual federal income tax credit equal to 30% of the annual interest they pay on their mortgage loan.

Make sure becoming a homeowner is right for you. Understand that with homeownership comes more responsibility and expenses, by speaking with a HUD approved counselor:

Know your budget -Use this worksheet to help figure out your budget:
Finance Budget

You can order your free credit reports from all three reporting agencies at Annual Credit Report

Review the different types of loans: FHA, Conventional and VA

Familiarize yourself with the different types of Loans

Foreclosed Properties

When visiting these sites, be sure to check for Special Offers. These are buyer incentives that are being offered at that time.

Help a neighborhood! Buy a home through HUD's Good Neighbor Next Door initiative designed to encourage renewal of revitalization areas by providing law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and teachers an opportunity to purchase homes in these communities. HUD provides a substantial incentive in the form of a fifty percent discount off the list price of eligible properties. Learn more at Good Neighbor Next Door.

VA - Benefits

Find a Lender

If you currently have a bank or credit union that is a good start. Below are some lenders that we have used you should interview and feel confident that they will help you understand the process.

Once you have found a lender you want to work with, they will pre-approve you. This will let you know much of a home you qualify for. Your real estate agent will need to know so that they can show you homes within that price range.

Make a "needs" list -
Determine what your needs are in a home. Consider things like: number of bedrooms and baths, size of kitchen, living space, garage, yard, neighborhood, schools, public transportation - anything of importance to you and your family. Also make a "wish" list things that would make it ideal such as a fireplace in the bedroom or 3-car garage.

Find a real estate agent -
You will need the help of a qualified real estate professional, interview them. Find one that you feel comfortable with and who you can trust will do their best for you. Finding an agent that is familiar with the neighborhood you are interested in is ideal.

Find a home -
Consider the items on your lists, especially those of great importance. Your agent can tell you what homes are selling for in the area you are interested in that are comparable to what you need. You will see many homes, take notes, and write down something about each home that will help you recall what you saw. Once you walk into that "certain one" you will know it, it just feels like home and your agent will guide you through the offer process.

Making an offer -
Once you found a home, it is time to make an offer. If you offer an amount that is less than the asking price the seller may accept, counter or reject it - be prepared. Buying a home or investment is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime, be prepared it is fun, exciting and very emotional. Once your offer has accepted by the seller, you will make an earnest money deposit. Your agent will discuss this with you and let you know what that amount is prior to submitting an offer. This earnest money deposit will be credited to you on your settlement statement at closing.

Home Inspections -
Inspections (below) are designed to help you understand the overall condition of a property, potentially saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.

Moving Checklist -
Whether you are moving to a different neighborhood or another city a checklist (below) is very helpful.

Closing -
Prior to your closing date, your lender will notify you of final loan approval. Your lender will give you the final amount you will need to take to closing for down payment and closing costs. It will need to be in the form of a certified check, so plan ahead. A final walk-through of the property should always be conducted the day before closing. This will help you make certain nothing has changed since you last saw the home.


Standard Home Inspection - The areas which may be covered include: interior and exterior surfaces, garage/carport, structure, roof, attic, basement, crawl space, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing, fireplace/wood burning devices, and appliance condition. Before hiring an inspector, ask what is covered in the service they provide. Remember that your inspection rights are clearly stated in the purchase contract. If a home is sold "as-is" an inspection may still be done.

Radon Inspection -
Radon is a radioactive gas found in some homes that, if occurring in strong enough concentrations, can cause health problems.

Asbestos Inspection -
Lab analysis will determine if asbestos fibers are present and evaluate their condition. If friable or non-friable conditions exist, buyers should seek professional assistance.

Lead Paint Inspection -
Painted surfaces of a home can be evaluated to determine the presence of lead paint. Homes that were constructed before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead exposure can be harmful to young children and babies. Children with lead in their bodies can suffer from damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and headaches.

Methamphetamine -
Chemical residues and lab wastes that are left behind at a former methamphetamine lab can result in health problems for people who use the property. Testing will determine if residue is present.

Swimming Pool or Hot Tub Inspection -
Determines the overall condition and operability of a swimming pool or hot tubs equipment. Additionally, the condition of the pool deck will be inspected for deterioration and other noticeable defects.

Private Well Flow and Potability Inspection -
Designed to determine whether or not a private well adequately supplies water to the house. Samples are sent to a lab for potability (drinkable) analysis.    

Moving Checklist:

The following list includes items that would need to be addressed if moving across town or to a different city.


Notifications and Address Change:
  • Bank: order new checks, transfer funds
  • Charge accounts, credit cards
  • Childcare provider
  • Clubs/Memberships
  • Delivery Services: laundry, newspaper
  • Employer
  • Friends and Relatives
  • Insurance: life, Health, Dental and Auto
  • Medical, Dental, Prescription Histories: ask doctor and dentist for referrals, transfer prescriptions, medical records, x-rays, etc.,
  • Pets: ask about regulations for licenses, vaccinations, tags, etc.
  • Post office
  • Subscriptions
  • TV, cable and Internet provider
  • Utility Companies: gas, electric, water, telephone, fuel, garbage (get refunds on any deposits made
  • Veterans Administration
Things To Do:
  • Empty freezer, plan use of food
  • Defrost freezer and clean refrigerator, place baking soda inside to dispel odors
  • Have appliances serviced for moving
  • Clean rugs and clothing before moving
  • Check with your Moving Service - insurance coverage, packing and unpacking labor, arrival day, various shipping papers, method and time of expected payment
  • Get children's school transcripts
  • Make arrangements for care of children and pets on moving day
  • Return library books
  • Assemble a moving kit to take to new house (hammer, nails, pliers, masking tape, tape measure, flashlight, fuses, rags, scissors, and first aid kit)
  • Return borrowed items
  • Round up things borrowed from you

  • Carry enough cash or traveler's checks to cover cost of moving services and expenses until you make new banking connections
  • Carry jewelry and important documents yourself, or use registered mail
  • Let close friends or relatives know your travel schedule, route and overnight plans
  • Double check closets, drawers, shelves to make sure they are empty
  • Leave all keys, garage door openers, landscape/house plans and instruction manuals
  • Check on service of telephone, gas, electric, water and garbage

  • Ask Mail Carrier for mail he/she may be holding for your arrival
  • Have new address recorded on driver's license or apply for new license if out of state
  • Change address for your vehicles with your insurance company
  • Visit city offices and register to vote
  • Register car within five days after arrival in new state or penalty may have to be paid when getting new license plates
  • Obtain inspection sticker and transfer motor club membership
  • Register in your new place of worship
  • Register children in school
  • Arrange for medical services