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6 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Bought a Home

bought a homeAs a first-time homebuyer, there are many things you'll learn and experience as you go through the process of buying your first home. Having support from someone who’s already been through the process can be immensely helpful.

If you’re in need of some friendly advice, you’ve come to the right place! Here are six things I wish I had been told as a first-time homebuyer starting my homebuying journey...

Attend a First-Time Homebuyer Educational Course

Build your confidence by taking a homebuying class. You’ll learn the basics of what’s involved in purchasing a home, get useful educational materials, and learn about resources available to first-time homebuyers.

Classes are inexpensive and can usually be completed in one day. Check out a course online or look for one offered in your community.

Since this is all new to you, don’t be afraid to ask questions in class. Now is the time to let the experts share their knowledge with you.

homebuyer classes

Organizations like the Minnesota Homeownership Center can connect you with reliable, helpful resources. Buyers that are accepted to Habitat’s homeownership program complete a series of educational seminars and trainings that prepare them for the responsibilities of homeownership.

Know the Area You Want to Live In

You won't just be living in your house, you'll be part of the neighborhood, too. When you find a house you like, visit the area at different times of day to get an understanding of what you may like (or not like) about the neighborhood.

Some things to consider when thinking about whether the location is a good match for you and your family:

  • Commute to work
  • Quality of local schools
  • Proximity of shopping
  • Access to public transportation
  • Parks and greenspace
  • Nearby industry
  • Noise levels
  • Traffic and parking

Find a Realtor You Like and Trust

realtor stock image

The entire process will be much easier if you work well with your realtor.

A good realtor will want you to be informed, will respond to your requests quickly, and will help you through the process. Find a “buyer’s agent” that will be working for you, and make sure to take advantage of their guidance and their expertise.

Ask friends for recommendations of realtors that they were happy with, then interview those realtors to find one you want to hire.

Consider All Lending Programs

Before you start looking for a mortgage lender, make sure you look at the first-time homebuyer programs available to you at both the federal and local levels. Some buyers qualify for down payment assistance, low-interest loans, and more.

Here are a few links to get started:

Mortgages can be complex, and the lender you choose should make sure you understand your loan. They should also clearly explain the features of different types of loans, and be clear about the total cost of the loan you choose (including earnest money, down payment, fees, and interest rates).

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan Early in the Process

Pre-approval for a mortgage loan allows you to know your spending limits. By looking at your assets, debt, credit, and income, the lender will inform you of how much you’re approved to borrow. This ensures you’re looking at houses in your price range.

Pre-approval also makes you ready to make an offer quickly when you find the perfect house.

Our Lending Team

Know What You Want, But Remain Flexible

Some of the best advice is also the simplest: remember to stay patient during this process. Create a list of your needs and wants in advance, but learn to be flexible to avoid being disappointed.

Expect that any house you buy will have some issues and know how to look for “good bones” rather than appealing decoration. Following this strategy will help you avoid repairs and other issues, and you might even discover that settling for a less attractive house allows you to get a lower price on a house in a great location.

If you're looking for more information on buying your first home, read our comprehensive first-time homebuyer guide or download it by clicking the button below!

first time homebuyer guide

Becky Engen

Becky Engen

Becky Engen has a passion for writing and building and engaging with communities through social media. She graduated from St. Cloud State University, and began her career in marketing and advertising as a junior copywriter and social media specialist. Becky joined the Twin Cities Habitat marketing team in 2013 as the Digital Marketing Program Manager and loves that she continues to learn something new each and every day about the great people who work for, volunteer with, and are served through the organization.

Topics: Homeownership Program, 2018