BUYERS December 25, 2023

First-Time Home Buyer Checklist


Buying your first home is an exciting milestone, but it can also be a complex process with many steps and considerations. To help you navigate the journey, here’s a comprehensive checklist to guide first-time homebuyers:

Financial Preparation:

  1. Check Your Credit Score: Obtain a copy of your credit report and review it for any errors. Work on improving your credit score if needed.
  2. Determine Your Budget: Assess your finances, including income, expenses, savings, and debts, to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home.
  3. Save for a Down Payment: Aim to save at least 20% of the home’s purchase price for a down payment to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI).
  4. Estimate Closing Costs: Research and budget for closing costs, which typically range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price.
  5. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage: Consult with lenders and obtain preapproval for a mortgage to understand your borrowing capacity and strengthen your offer when making an offer.

Home Search:

  1. Define Your Needs and Wants: Make a list of essential features you need in a home (e.g., location, size, number of bedrooms) and features you desire but are not mandatory.
  2. Research Neighborhoods: Explore different neighborhoods to find the right fit in terms of amenities, schools, safety, and property values.
  3. Work with a Real Estate Agent: Choose a reputable real estate agent who specializes in the local market and can guide you through the home buying process.
  4. Attend Open Houses and Tours: Visit potential properties to assess their condition, layout, and suitability.

Offer and Negotiation:

  1. Submit an Offer: Work with your real estate agent to prepare and submit a competitive offer based on market research and property evaluations.
  2. Negotiate Terms: Be prepared to negotiate terms such as price, contingencies, and closing dates to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Due Diligence:

  1. Schedule a Home Inspection: Hire a licensed home inspector to evaluate the property’s condition and identify any potential issues or repairs needed.
  2. Review Property Disclosures: Examine any disclosures provided by the seller regarding the property’s history, condition, and known issues.
  3. Conduct Additional Inspections: Consider scheduling specialized inspections, such as termite, radon, or mold inspections, if recommended by the home inspector.
  4. Finalize Mortgage Approval: Complete the mortgage application process, provide any required documentation, and secure final loan approval.


  1. Obtain Homeowners Insurance: Shop for and secure homeowners insurance coverage to protect your investment.
  2. Conduct a Final Walk-through: Schedule a final walk-through of the property to ensure it’s in the agreed-upon condition and any negotiated repairs have been completed.
  3. Review Closing Documents: Review all closing documents, including the settlement statement, loan documents, and title documents, to ensure accuracy and understanding.
  4. Attend Closing: Attend the closing meeting to sign the necessary paperwork, finalize the purchase, and receive the keys to your new home.


  1. Move In: Plan and coordinate your move, including packing, hiring movers, and transferring utilities.
  2. Settle In: Enjoy your new home and begin settling in, making any desired improvements or personalizing the space to make it your own.

Buying a home for the first time can be a complex process, but with careful planning, preparation, and guidance from professionals, you can navigate the journey successfully and achieve your homeownership dreams.