Buying a home for the first time can be a stressful process.  There are so many things to look out for.  You want to make sure that you make the right choices.  What area do you want to buy in?  Is there a specific school district?  How do you know if you're getting a good deal?  Are you buying a home that is in good shape?  How much home can you afford?  

As a first time home buyer you have so many questions and you want to make sure you get the right answers.  As with every big decision in life, you want to make sure you understand what you're getting yourself into.  There are certain things you can do to prepare yourself for home ownership. Doing a little research and asking a lot of questions seems as though it should be par for the course. Below are a few things you can do to prepare yourself .

 

  1. The first thing you should do is to take a look at your financial situation.  Buying a home is great, but not everyone is able to do so.  I would recommend speaking with a lender.  Your lender will be able to tell you how much home you can afford based on your financial information.  If you're just curious and you don't want to speak to a lender, you can always start by using a mortgage calculator to do a preliminary loan analysis.
  2. Make sure you have all of your financial documents together.  Lenders will ask for a lot of information so it pays to be organized. Collect pay stubs, bank account statements, W-2s, tax returns for the last two years, statements from current loans and credit lines, and names and addresses of your landlords if you are renting.  All of this information should be available to give to your lender when it's asked for. 
  3. You will also want to start doing some research on your own to get an idea what homes in the desired areas are selling for.  Doing this ahead of time will give you some insight into area home values.  This would also be a great time to contact a Realtor.  Even if you're not ready to buy at the moment, a good Realtor will work with you at your pace to get you ready.  Your agent should have connections throughout the industry so when you have questions or concerns they can provide you with the information you need or point you in the right direction.
  4. Once you've done your research and you feel like you're ready to move forward, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking.  This will save you a lot of time and hassle.  In today's complex real estate market, a pre-approval is absolutely essential.  Most sellers will not even entertain an offer without one.
  5. Now that you're pre-approved for a mortgage, it's time to find your dream home!  This is the fun part.  Hopefully by now you have selected a Realtor to help you with your search.  A Realtor will help guide you through the entire process so it's important that you select one you feel comfortable with.

These are just a few things you can do to prepare yourself to buy a home.  I hope you find this information useful!