Easing anxieties for first-time homebuyers

Buying a home for the first time is a life-changing event. Consequently, a great deal of time, energy and emotion gets poured into the process. Here’s some advice to help any first-time homebuyer feel secure and supported.


Don’t dread that down payment

While a down payment can certainly help secure a house, prospective homebuyers may not need as big of a down payment as they think. There are Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs and loans with a variety of down payment options. Being short on cash doesn’t mean it’s impossible to buy a home and 20% down isn’t an ironclad requirement. Dispel down payment dread and other misconceptions about buying a home so you can happily home shop.

Find the full financial picture

Use the full range of research tools available online to find out what homes cost and what you can afford. Use a mortgage calculator to research monthly mortgage payments and the Intuitive Loan Finder to see available loan options. At some point, you’ll need to know the state of your credit if you don’t already (FYI, Guaranteed Rate offers a free credit check1 during the pre-approval process). Budgeting and loan shopping ensure first-time homebuyers get a full view of what they can afford. Student loans and other debt could be a factor if you’re buying a house for the first time. Fortunately, they don’t have to block the path to home ownership. Options such as FHA loans, which allow lower down payments and higher debt ceilings, could be the answer.

Use technology like digital open houses

Technology can help determine where you stand financially and offers many research tools for the housing market. Many Realtors have easily searchable websites and apps with interactive home interior photos for you to peek into houses and their prices. You’ll frequently discover comparable properties when using these digital tools. Here’s a little hack: walk, drive or bike around a neighborhood while running an app to point out properties for sale you can visit nearby. 

Learn about the mortgage process

The mortgage process might seem intimidating, from odd new acronyms to why it’s better to be pre-approved than pre-qualified. There is plenty of paperwork and a lot of personal financial history to examine. You may need to provide bank statements, at least two years of W-2s, work history and other documentation. Fortunately, a lot of traditional paperwork can now be submitted digitally. This will save you a good deal of time and hopefully make the process easier when you’re ready to start financing. You will also have a home mortgage team to help you through the process.

Shop for your home mortgage team

Buying a new house doesn’t happen overnight. Gathering all the necessary documentation to apply for financing and find a home you’re happy with will likely take some time. You’ll want to look closely inside each property under consideration and weigh your choice carefully. This could take some time and expertise, so you’ll need a strong support team in place. Tell your family and friends about your home shopping so more people are invested. You need to have faith and trust in your Realtor, loan officer and every member of your team. Choose them as carefully as you would a new home. The good news is that you all have a shared goal and there’s a new home waiting for you at the end! That should keep everybody in the game.

For what it’s worth, 95% of Guaranteed Rate’s customers were satisfied2 when working with us. Give us a call or get started online if you’re ready to partner with us. You deserve the best of the best during this milestone.

1 If Applicant self-reports credit score as “needs improvement,” Guaranteed Rate will not run credit or provide free credit scores via the Digital Mortgage. Applicant may request credit scores by contacting Guaranteed Rate.

2 95% Customer Satisfaction: Data Source: Guaranteed Rate’s Client Satisfaction Surveys (Averaged 2007-2017)

Guaranteed Rate, Inc. is a private corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware. It has no affiliation with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Department of Agriculture or any other government agency.


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All information provided in this publication is for informational and educational purposes only, and in no way is any of the content contained herein to be construed as financial, investment, or legal advice or instruction. Guaranteed Rate, Inc. does not guarantee the quality, accuracy, completeness or timelines of the information in this publication. While efforts are made to verify the information provided, the information should not be assumed to be error free. Some information in the publication may have been provided by third parties and has not necessarily been verified by Guaranteed Rate, Inc. Guaranteed Rate, Inc. its affiliates and subsidiaries do not assume any liability for the information contained herein, be it direct, indirect, consequential, special, or exemplary, or other damages whatsoever and howsoever caused, arising out of or in connection with the use of this publication or in reliance on the information, including any personal or pecuniary loss, whether the action is in contract, tort (including negligence) or other tortious action.