The number of steps involved in the home buying process can be intimidating to many first-time homebuyers. To help simplify the process, Bank of Internet USA has created the First-Time Homebuyer's Checklist. By following this list of essential to-do items for purchasing a home, you can help to make your experience as a first-time homebuyer go as smoothly as possible. Our experienced Mortgage Consultants will certainly be happy to provide you with guidance every step of the way.
For your convenience, here is a download-and-print copy of this First-Time Homebuyer Checklist.
Determine Your Budget
- Figure out your monthly income vs. your monthly expenses.
- As a general rule, your total monthly mortgage payments should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.
- In addition, your total monthly financial obligations (including your mortgage payment, taxes, and insurance costs) should not exceed 45% of your gross monthly income.
Line Up Your Loan Documents
- Request your credit report from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
- Look for any errors in the reports and make every effort to fix them.
- Compile the necessary mortgage documents, including pay stubs, bank statements, and past tax returns.
Research Home Loans
Search for Your First Home
- Make a list of features you are looking for in your first home, dividing them into "Must-haves," "Nice-to-haves," and "Dream-to-haves."
- Look at neighborhoods and consider the distance to work and, if you have kids, proximity to and the quality of local schools.
Find an Experienced Real Estate Agent or Broker
- It is strongly recommended that you hire an experienced real estate agent or broker to act as your representative when you buy your first home. If you hire the right representative, he or she will not charge a fee directly to you, but instead will split the commission that the seller’s agent gets upon sale.
- Find an agent or broker who specializes in the type of home you're looking to buy and in the neighborhood in which you'd like to live.
- Ask questions and call references.
Make an Offer
- Once you find the house you want, work with your real estate representative to move quickly in determining an initial offer, and make your bid.
- You may want to research at least three homes that have recently sold in the neighborhood. Remember, if you’re thinking of making a lowball offer, the chances of its being accepted will depend on the current climate of the market.
Once You Reach a Deal
- Obtain both a home and pest inspection and make sure that there are no significantly negative results. If there are significantly negative results, make sure that you can reach a satisfactory agreement with the seller as to how to move forward with repairs or other means of resolution.
- Work with Bank of Internet USA to schedule an appraisal and secure title insurance.
- Bank of Internet USA will notify you if there are any missing documents you still need to provide in order to close your loan.
- At minimum, three days before closing, you’ll receive the closing paperwork from our Mortgage Specialists. This documentation will include all of the final details of the transaction and the terms of your mortgage. There should not be any big surprises here.
- Bank of Internet USA will also arrange for you to close the mortgage by sending a notary to your home, office, or any other convenient location of your preference.
- Then, you will enter the final stage of the mortgage process. All that you have to do now is sign the final paperwork and wait for your first mortgage to fund.
Congratulations! You are no longer a first-time homebuyer, you are now a first-time homeowner!