Get a handle on your finances


1. Check your own credit

  • Your credit score will affect your mortgage interest rate; try to improve it as much as you can.

2. Research sales price in your area

  • Talk to an expert about sales prices and other costs of homeownership, like homeowners’ insurance and common maintenance needs.

3. Nail down the down payment

  • You can bring less than 20% down to the table for different loans, but you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).

4. Consider all the costs

  • You’ll also be paying property taxes and insurance premiums; you may also have to pay for flood insurance, closing costs, moving, and more.

5. Figure out what you can afford

  • Make sure you’re not getting in over your head; ideally, your entire monthly mortgage payment should comprise no more than 1/3 of your take-home income.


Start searching

6. Understand what you want

  • Expect to be there for at least a couple of years, but probably closer to five or even ten, and try to accommodate for your future needs, too.

7. Get to know your deal breakers

  • A deal breaker is a feature of the home that you realistically can’t fix.

8. Search accordingly

  • Once you understand your must-haves and your deal breakers, your agent can set up a personalized alert anytime a home meets your exact criteria.




Offer smart and close strong

9. Think competitive but reasonable

  • Make a competitive offer, and consider using concessions to sweeten the deal.

10. Hire the inspector

  • Come to the inspection and listen carefully to any concern.

  • Ask questions about common problems.

  • Consider what to ask the seller to fix and what you feel OK tackling yourself.

11. Think beyond the close

  • Keep tabs on the market so you know how your taxes and insurance could increase, and maintain your home so it remains a good investment.