Things to Do Before Buying Your First Home: Part 1

February 8, 2017

Spring seems to begin long before temperatures rise, at least in the housing market. Traditionally, more homes are sold in spring than any other time of the year, which means buyers start preparing and searching for a place to own when winter’s icy winds are still blowing. If your plan is to become one of those spring buyers—or even to buy later this year—there are a few steps you should take to make sure your dream of homeownership comes true.

10 steps you can take now to get ready to buy

As a first-time buyer, the more you prepare, the easier it will be to identify the home you want, finance it and move when the time is right. In this two-part blog post, we’ll address 10 of those tasks you should complete, and here are the first five.

  1. Check your credit profile. Request your free credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion and Experian—at You should also consider getting your credit score at the same time. Check all three reports for any errors. An estimated 25 percent of reports have a mistake and it can take months to correct them. Aim for a credit score of 740 or above to pay the lowest interest rates. If your score is lower than that, look at negative factors on your report and take steps to improve your score.
  2. Establish a five-year financial plan. While a lender can tell you how much you can borrow, you should have your own financial plan that includes an idea of the maximum monthly housing payment you feel comfortable paying. Keep in mind that while your income and circumstances change over time, you should plan to stay in your house at least five to seven years.
  3. Evaluate your cash resources. Buying a home requires cash for a deposit, a down payment, closing costs, inspections and moving, plus you’ll need cash reserves for an emergency fund and home maintenance. Check on your savings and look into options for down payment assistance programs, low down payment loans, gifts from relatives and even possibly borrowing against your own retirement account.
  4. Consult a lender. Now that you have a handle on your money, consult a lender who can talk to you about loan options and prequalify you for a mortgage. Pre-qualification is necessary not only so you know your price range but also so you can prove to sellers that you have the ability to buy their house.
  5. Attend a homebuyer seminar. Even the most educated person rarely knows everything about the homebuying process. A seminar can provide you with valuable information about the process and your local market conditions, and it can give you the confidence that you will make a smart decision.

Next week, we’ll share with you the final five steps you should take before buying your first home.


  1. […] week, we shared with you the first five steps to get ready to buy your first home. From checking your credit profile to attending a homebuyer seminar, these tasks are critical to […]

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