First-Time Home Buyer's Checklist

    First-Time Home Buyer's Checklist

    Jul 16, 2019

    First-time home buyers often have more questions than those who have gone through the process before.

    Here are the topics I normally discuss with my clients who are buying their first home in Murfreesboro and the surrounding Middle Tennessee area:

    Make sure you’re (really) ready

    • You have a stable job.
    • You can see yourself living in the same town for the next 5-10 years.
    • You’re prepared for the extra work that comes with homeownership.

    Create your home wish list

    • Determine what’s most important to have right now — e.g., location, number of bedrooms, a yard.
    • Check out the different neighborhoods, home styles and listings online to get a feel for what’s most important to you.

    Figure out what you can afford

    • Request your credit report from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Fix any errors right away.
    • Determine a down payment amount (ideally 20% to avoid paying private mortgage insurance, but you can buy a home with little to nothing down).
    • Calculate how much you’ll need in an emergency fund for unexpected maintenance or repair costs.

    Gather the necessary documents

    • Collect proof of employment, including pay stubs and past tax returns.
    • Print out bank and investment account statements from the past 90 days.
    • Compile your previous addresses and current landlord’s contact information.

    Research mortgages

    • Request quotes from multiple lenders and comparison shop for loans.
    • Get pre-qualified for a loan (many sellers won’t even consider a bid unless you’re pre-qualified).
    • Obtain a pre-approval letter (this requires a credit and background check, but it can make you a stronger candidate).

    Assemble your team

    • Find a real estate agent you trust and communicate well with (check out agent profiles on Zillow and Trulia).
    • Here is mine
    • Ask a friend or family member for second opinions as you go through the buying process.
    • It is important to have other people in on the process. Some people only purchase one home their entire life, you want to make sure that you buy the right one!