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Four steps to take before purchasing your first home

Many experts are predicting a homebuyer's market next year, which means if you've thought about purchasing your first, the time may be fast approaching to finally do it. Of course, it's an understatement to say that buying a home is a huge deal; there's the somewhat scary financial aspects, but you also want to choose a house that will be your beloved place for your family for years to come.

It's not a decision to be made lightly, so here are some tips to help you prepare to purchase your first home:

  1. Take a hard look at your finances and decide how much you can afford. You don't want to have a monthly payment that's nearly impossible to make. In fact, the general guideline is to spend less than 28% of your total income on the mortgage.
  2. Check out your credit score. There are a few places online to do this for free. Being armed with your credit score (and doing things to raise it) will help you find the best rates for your mortgage.
  3. Don't settle for the first realtor. Shop around and find someone who really knows the area and listens to your needs.
  4. Outline everything you want in your new home, but be prepared to compromise. Do your research into the crime rates, schools, home prices and more.

You can also benefit from speaking with a real estate lawyer. He or she can walk you through the process and will be there every step of the way until you get your keys and walk into your new home.

Source:, "5 tips for buying your first home," Alessandra Malito, December 17, 2016

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