Leo Signature Realty
Paula & Melissa Smith

Advice for a First Time Home Buyer

Are you ready to own your own place and thinking about buying your first home?! The process of purchasing your first home is incredibly exciting, and I truly LOVE helping and working with first time buyers as they find their first home. From my experience in the Real Estate industry and with first time buyers, I have compiled some advice and items for you to consider as you are preparing to purchase your first home!

1. Payoff Debt: Paying off your debt will help when it comes to being able to get preapproved. This does not mean you have to be debt-free to purchase a home but pay off as much debt as you can in the months prior to beginning your home search.

2. Save Money: This is incredibly important and sometimes, first time buyers don’t realize everything they have to pay for and things they will want when purchasing a home. You will most likely have a down payment (which is a percentage of the sale price) and I recommend you get an inspection on your new home which is something you would pay for. Unless the seller is covering your closing costs, you also will have closing costs from the title company/lender. These items are all things that go into the purchase of your home. Once you move in, you will have items that you need/want to buy and after move-in expenses that you want to account for- from furniture to utility expenses. Saving in preparation to buy a home is vital.

3. Shop Around for Mortgage Rates: I highly suggest that you don’t just call your bank or a lender you know and get a preapproval. You should shop around for mortgage rates from a few lenders. Discuss with the lenders all the different aspects to include principal, interest rates, PMI, and so on. You want to find the lender that can get you the best terms for your situation.

4. Research: Do your research on the different areas where you are thinking about buying. Research neighborhoods at different times throughout the day and different days of the week, you should drive around and see if you can envision living in the area. In regards to location, you want to take your time to determine the best fit for you/your family. If you plan to build a family or have kids, explore different school districts. Research crime and safety. Lastly, take account of the local amenities around you like grocery stores, restaurants, parks, and so on.


5. Determine how much house you can comfortably afford and get preapproved: Before we start looking at houses, you should get preapproved. Many realtors require that you send them the preapproval before they show you homes. When getting preapproved, don’t just think about if you can make the payment each month, but also think about if you can comfortably afford it with your lifestyle. Being “house poor” because you didn’t think about factoring in other life expenses/experiences is not a fun place to be.

6. Start Early and Attend Open Houses: Begin your home search and attend open houses in the area you are looking to move to early. Don’t wait until you have a month until you want to move in to rush and find a home. If you start early and go to open houses, you will be able to take your time to determine your must-haves. This will also help you to determine what style of home you want and figure out what items are essential to you in your home. With this current Indy market, I feel it is very important that you begin the search process early so that you are ready when something you love pops up.

7. Consider Shopping Under Your Preapproval: Think about looking at homes that are below your preapproval/desired purchase amount. This strategy will help you to have wiggle room in this competitive market. We are seeing a lot of multiple offer situations currently, and this strategy would help you to be able to put in a more competitive offer if needed.

Helping first time buyers understand the process and narrow their search to find the perfect home is my passion. If you are considering purchasing your first home, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. We can chat on the phone, sit down for coffee, or discuss Zoom the entire process as well as how I can assist/ work for you!

Happy House Hunting!

Melissa Smith


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