10 Tips for First Time Home Buyers: How to Avoid Making Common Mistakes

Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. And while it’s exciting to think about all the possibilities for your new property, the process can also be daunting. 

We’ve put together this list of 10 tips for first-time homebuyers to help make your search smoother and easier. 

Learn what you should do before making an offer, what questions to ask during a home inspection, and even which type of mortgage might work best for you (fixed or variable). 

Whether you’re shopping around in hopes of finding your first condo or that perfect single-family house, these pointers will get you on track!

10 Tips for First Time Home Buyers in 2022

1. Do your homework

The key to finding the right home is thorough research. Jump online and check out the MLS listings in your desired city to help you get a better idea of market value, the average sold prices, and the number of homes that have been listed over the past few months. 

You should also pay attention to the location of each property (i.e. areas that are more convenient or walkable, closer to schools and parks). 

Keep an eye out for any pros and cons of the neighborhood.

2. Take time to research your housing options

As your home will be one of the biggest purchases you make in your lifetime, you must get it right. That means taking a look at all the different housing options before deciding on purchasing a property. You should consider a few factors when figuring out what’s right for you.

– How much can I afford?

– Should I buy a condo or a house?

– How long do I plan on staying in this location?

When you have a good idea of the type of home you’re looking for, it will be much easier to find your perfect match.

3. Talk with a mortgage broker

Before you start looking for your perfect home, it’s a good idea to talk with a mortgage broker about what type of financing might work best for you. 

A housing market expert can help you to determine which type of mortgage (fixed or variable) would be best for you and your financial goals. 

They can also complete a credit check to see how much of a down payment you can afford. Once you’ve found a home that’s within your budget, they will help you to apply for a mortgage that matches your situation.

4. Consider a fixed-rate mortgage

A fixed-rate mortgage is ideal for first-time homebuyers because the interest rate and monthly payments do not fluctuate and will remain the same for the entire term of the mortgage. 

This makes it easier to budget for your monthly expenditures. You can choose a fixed-rate mortgage for between six months and five years, depending on the term that suits you best.

5. Get your credit in shape

In order to qualify for a mortgage, you’ll need a good credit rating, so it’s best to clean up your credit history before you start hunting for a home. If there are any mistakes on your credit report, contact the credit bureaus to get them fixed before applying for a mortgage. 

Doing so will help you get the best interest rate possible and avoid being denied a loan because of bad credit.

6. Negotiate with the seller for better terms

Once you find the perfect home, it’s time to negotiate with your real estate agent and the seller. 

You can’t ask for anything too outlandish, but don’t be afraid to request that the seller postpone closing for one or two weeks if you need more time to get your finances in order. You can also strive to get the best terms possible on the home itself (i.e. lower price, shorter closing date, etc.).

7. Choose a real estate agent who will represent your interests

When buying your first home, it’s important to choose an agent you can trust. 

You should be able to get along with your agent and feel comfortable confiding in them, especially if you are new to the home-buying process. 

Your agent should be friendly and able to answer any questions you have about the process, and they should never pressure you to make a decision before you’re ready.

Working with a real estate agent can make the home-buying process much easier. They are professionals, after all, so they will know exactly what you need to do and how to complete each task on time. 

They will also negotiate on your behalf with the seller so that you can get better terms on your new home.

8. Walk through the property with a home inspector

Once you’ve made an offer on the property, your real estate agent will schedule an inspection with a third party. 

This is a good time to ask a lot of questions about the home and make sure that you understand exactly what you’re signing up for. 

You should ask the inspector to check everything from the plumbing and heating systems to the foundation and electrical wirings. 

By getting a complete understanding of what you’re buying, you will be ready to make informed decisions later on.

9. Choose a home that you can afford

It’s tempting to buy the biggest, most expensive house you can find. However, it’s more important to buy a home that you can afford than it is to get the top model with the most features. 

A home is a substantial investment, so you should always have an exit strategy in mind. You might decide that you only want to stay in your first home for a year or two, and you should be prepared to sell the house if things don’t work out as planned.

10. Make an offer that is fair to you and the seller

Once the inspection and appraisal process is complete, you will be able to make an official offer on the home. 

You should base your offer on the condition of the property and the contract you agreed on with the seller, making sure that your bid is fair to both you and the seller. 

If your offer is accepted, congratulations! You’re a homeowner in the making.

First Time Home Buyer Mistakes You Should Avoid

– Buying a place you can’t afford

– Inflated offers based on emotions rather than market conditions

– Not getting neutral third party advice on offers

– Not having enough down payment

– Paying too much for your mortgage

– Not comparing rates between lenders before applying for a mortgage

– Refusing to negotiate with the seller

– Not considering a reliable real estate agent

– Not having a backup plan in place

– Getting emotionally attached to the first property you see

– Refusing to get a home inspection

– Ignoring any problems during the home inspection

– Not having a clear plan for your exit strategy


Q. How much should a first-time homebuyer put down?

A. Generally, first-time homebuyers should be prepared to put down at least 20% of the total purchase price as a down payment. 

If you’re able to put more down, the lender will offer you a better interest rate.

Q. What does an inspection for a home entail? Are they worth it?

A. An inspection is a thorough examination of the property you are purchasing to identify any repairs or replacements that should be made or items that might need to be replaced before moving in. 

Inspections are an essential part of the home-buying process, and they can save you lots of time and money in the long run.

Q. Will a real estate agent help me find a home?

A. Yes, a good real estate agent will help you find your dream home and negotiate a fair and competitive offer for it. 

They can also give you valuable advice when you’re looking for a home, from deciding on which neighborhood is right for you to negotiating with the seller and handling all of the paperwork.

Q. Who qualifies for first-time home buyers?

A. Anyone can qualify for a first-time homebuyer program under the right circumstances. First-time homebuyers are generally defined as people who have not owned a home in the last three years. Some of these programs even extend to veterans, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.

Final Thoughts

While buying a home is a big decision that will affect the rest of your life, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. 

When you take the time to plan and get all of your ducks in a row, buying your first home will be an adventure that brings you joy and peace of mind.

Just follow these 10 tips for first-time home buyers, and you’ll be well on your way to owning your dream home!

Wishing you all the best!

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

Recent Posts