Your first time buying a house can be overwhelming and stressful. There’s a lot to do, a lot to look for, many options to choose from, and a lot of money involved. What’s the best loan for first time home buyers? How do I find a real estate agent? Do I need an inspection? How much of a down payment should I plan for? There are a lot of questions. And everyone you talk to and every article you find can have different home buying tips, recommendations, and “must-dos.” Here are ten of our essential tips for first-time home buyers. 

houses in neighborhood

What’s the Best Loan for First Time Home Buyers and Other Money Tips

Buying a house involves a lot of money. The average home cost in Chicago is nearly $280,000, which doesn’t even include the suburbs. There are mortgage rates, loans, and credit scores to look into. We’ve got our essential tips for first-time home buyers to make the money part of it a little bit easier: 

1. Keep Everything Organized

Organization is key. Throughout the whole process of first time home buying, they’ll be a lot of paperwork, messages, emails, and spreadsheets. Keeping everything organized will remove some of the stress. 

2. Save Early and Set Your Budget

If you think your first time buying a house is in the foreseeable future, start saving. The sooner you put aside extra money, the larger downpayment you can afford, which means a lower mortgage or a larger house. There are closing costs, inspection fees, and moving costs. Take a moment to figure out how big you can afford.

3. Check Your Credit Score 

Knowing your credit score is an essential early step the first time buying a house. Most credit card companies provide a basic credit report with your periodic statements, and you can receive your full credit report online. Knowing where you stand allows you to prepare and work to improve your credit if needed. 

4. Research First Time Home Buyer Assistance Programs

There are some perks to being a first time home buyer. Many national, state-wide, and local homebuyer assistance programs are available. These options help answer “What’s the best loan for first time homebuyers?”

The Illinois Housing Development Authority, or IHDA, offers multiple programs to help out when it’s your first time buying a home. There are government-backed home loans and first time home buyer vouchers on the federal level. These programs can make the money part of your first time buying a house a little bit easier.

5. Explore Mortgage Options 

One of our biggest home buying tips is to explore your mortgage options thoroughly – because there are many of them, all designed to fit specific needs. Explore the options and determine what best fits your needs and your life. Prello Realty summarizes some common mortgage types to simplify your options. 

6. Get Pre-Approved 

To save time once you’ve found the perfect home, receive pre-approval for a mortgage. A pre-approval letter shows the seller and their real estate agent that you can afford their home and are serious about it. Having that pre-approval in your pocket can aid in your home search and speed up the process once you choose your new home. Different mortgage lenders have different timelines for pre-approval, some as early as 12 months before you plan to buy a house. To make it even easier, Prello can assist with obtaining pre-approval letters

7. Choose a Real Estate Agent Carefully

Another essential tip for first-time home buyers is to choose your real estate agent carefully. There are over 50,000 licensed agents just in Illinois. How do you find your perfect match? You want someone with experience, a proven record, and local area knowledge on paper. But there is more to consider: What does your instinct tell you? How many clients do they have at once? What connections do they have? Do they understand your needs? 

Prello Realty is experienced, local, and personable. We’ve been a top Chicagoland producer for 14 years. Our founder is a lifelong Chicagoland native who knows the area. We’re ready to work for you, figure out your needs, share all our home buying tips, and get you into your perfect home. We offer up to a 1% buyer’s rebate to give you a little bonus for choosing Prello.

neighborhood pond

Your First Time Buying a House: What to Look For

We’ve talked about the money-related essential tips for first-time home buyers and figured out the best loan for first time home buyers, but how do you find a house? 

8. Figure Out What You Want

Everyone has a mental picture of their dream home, but finding a perfect home in the perfect area with the perfect price tag is generally unachievable. Narrow your wish list to “must-haves” and “wants.” What are the aspects of a home you need? What else would you like to have?

Research the location and determine what’s essential: schools, walkability, commute, amenities, and distance to a coffee shop or grocery store. When looking at homes, try and chat with the neighbors or find local groups on social media for information from area residents. 

9. Stick to Your Budget

Remember that you set your budget for a reason! While you may have room to go a little over, the goal is to stick to it. Don’t be afraid to negotiate or ask your real estate agent to negotiate for a better deal.

home worth

10. Don’t Skip Out on the Home Inspection

Home inspections exist for a reason. Skipping out on a professional inspection can lead to nasty future surprises, and you can lose out on the chance to renegotiate. Suppose significant issues present themselves during an inspection. In that case, you can change your mind about the house, renegotiate the price, add contingencies for the seller to have things fixed before you officially close on the house, or have the seller provide a credit to cover the cost of the repairs.

There you have it, Prello Realty’s essential tips for first-time home buyers to make your journey to homeownership easier. Remember, it’s okay not to have all the answers. That’s why you hire an expert. It’s our job to answer questions, guide you through the first-time home-buying process, and welcome you home. That’s arguably our best home buying tip: hire Prello Realty.