First-Time Home Buyer's Checklist
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.
- 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 https://www.zillow.com/profile/AnswerFancher/
- 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!