Buying your First Home Checklist 2023

Couple after completing Buying First Home Checklist.

Are you ready to take home ownership? But before you start with buying your first home in 2023, it’s important to have a proper checklist.

In this comprehensive “Buying Your First Home Checklist 2023” guide, we will help you navigate the complex world of real estate, make you have an informed decision, avoid common pitfalls and turn your dream of owning a home into a reality. So, let’s embark on this exciting adventure:

1. Determine your Budget

When determining your budget for buying your first home, it’s important to look into not only the purchase price but also the expenses related to it. These include:

Monthly Mortgage Payment

Calculate how much you can easily afford in monthly mortgage payments. Remember, it is not just about the loan amount but also interest rates, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. It would be better to use an online mortgage calculator to get an estimate of all these costs.

Down Payment

Keep in mind, a large down payment can lower your monthly payments. You should aim to pay a down payment of at least 20% to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) costs.

Closing Costs

These are the charges associated with finalizing the purchase of a home and can include different charges such as attorney charges, appraisal charges, title insurance etc. Closing costs usually range from 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price.

Emergency Fund

It is important you have an emergency fund to cover unexpected home repairs, improvements or financial emergencies.

2. Check your Credit Score

Your credit score is one of the important factors in the approval of mortgage application. Here is how to improve it and make sure it is good before applying for a mortgage:

Review your Credit Report

Get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion), look for errors and dispute if there are any.

Pay Off Debt

Lowering your credit card balances and paying off outstanding debts can boost your credit score.

Avoid New Debt

Don’t open new credit accounts before applying for a mortgage. This can affect your credit score negatively.

3. Explore Mortgage Options

It is important to learn and understand different types of mortgages in order to make a decision:

Fixed Rate Mortgage

With a fixed rate mortgage, your interest rate remains constant throughout the period of the loan. It gives stability in your monthly payments.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

An ARM usually offers a low initial interest rate but it can change from time to time. This can lead to fluctuations in your monthly payments.

Government Backed Loans

Government Backed Loans include FHA loans (insured by the Federal Housing Administration) and VA loans (for eligible veterans and active duty service members). These loans require a lower down payment but also have specific eligibility criteria.

4. Start Saving for a Down Payment

Saving for your down payment is one of the most important financial difficulties for first time homebuyers. Here are some tips to help you save:

Automatic Savings

Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a dedicated savings account to make sure you have consistent savings at every specific time.

Reduce Unnecessary Spending

Cut the spendings especially in the areas where you spend unnecessarily. It will help you have more funds for your down payment goal.

Explore Down Payment Assistance Programs

Local or State Governments offer down payment assistance programs. Depending on your location and income, you can qualify for it.

5. Research Neighborhood

Choosing the right neighborhood is an important step in your home buying journey. Here are some tips:

Travel Expense: Estimate your daily travel expenses to work and other expenses. Look at public transportation options to your work. This will reduce your travel expenses.

Amenities: Research nearby amenities such as schools, parks, shopping centers, hospitals and recreational facilities. This is really important.

Future Development: Look for any developments in the area as it can affect property value and quality of life both positively and negatively.

6. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Hiring and working with a skilled real estate agent is important. Here are some tips for choosing the right agent:

Local Knowledge

Prioritize choosing an agent who has a well understanding of the local real estate market such as recent sales and market trends.


Make sure your agent is responsive and keeps you informed about the process because effective communication is the key.

Negotiation Skills

A strong negotiator can help you get the best deal on your chosen property.

7. Attend Open Houses

When attending open houses, look beyond the surface. Here are some things to focus on:

Structural Integrity

Pay attention to the condition of the roof, foundation and major systems like HVAC and plumbing.


Ask questions about recent repairs and maintenance done on the property. This will give an insight into how well the property has been kept.

Neighborhood Environment

Talk to neighbors if possible. By doing this, you will get a sense of the community around and any potential issues.

8. Make an offer

Making a good offer involves more than just quoting a price:


Include contingencies such as financial emergencies or home inspection emergencies in your offer to protect your interests.


Be prepared to make a deposit to show your commitment to the purchase.

Seller’s Motivations

Your agent can help you by telling you about the seller’s motivations, which can help in your negotiation strategy.

9. Home Inspection

Pay attention to the following during a home inspection:

Inspection Report

Carefully review the inspector’s report having details about everything related to the property, there might be any problems or concerns with the property. Discuss if you find anything with your agent.

Repairs and Negotiations

Use the inspection report as a basis for negotiations with the seller. You should request repairs or concessions on any identified issues with the property.

Future Maintenance

Have in mind the long-term maintenance and improvement of the property when making a decision.

10. Secured Financing

The mortgage approval process can be complicated. Here are some additional considerations:

Loan Type

Determine that the chosen type of mortgage is in line with your financial needs and risk tolerance.


Be prepared to provide large documentation such as tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements for your mortgage application.

Rate Lock

Discuss the possibility of locking in the interest rate to protect yourself from market fluctuations.

11. Closing of the Deal

During closure, it is important to pay attention to the following:

Closing Costs

Review the closing statement to make sure all the information is accurate and you understand all costs involved.

Title Search

Verify that a full title search has been performed to identify any title problems.

Home Warranty

Consider getting a home warranty. It will provide peace of mind regarding future repairs.

12. Moving In

After closing, the process is not over yet. Here are some final considerations:

Utilities and Services

Move utilities and arrange important services such as Internet, cable, and garbage disposal.

Home Maintenance

Keep a schedule maintenance to make sure your new home stays in good shape.

Neighbor Integration

Get your neighbors, know them and become a part of the community.

Buying your First Home Checklist 2023- Conclusion

By delving deeper into each step of “Buying your First Home Checklist 2023”, you will now be better prepared for the exciting journey of buying your first home. Remember that thorough research, careful planning and guidance from professionals are the keys to success in this journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to Get a Loan for a House with Low Income?

Buying a home with low-income requires extra work but it is possible. Strategies include improving your credit score, finding government-backed loan programs with more convenient income requirements, research down payment assistance programs and demonstrate your ability to handle mortgage payments.

How Long does the Home Buying Process take?

The length of the home buying process can vary but it typically takes 30 to 45 days from accepted offer to closing. It can also get longer if there are complications in the application or the process.

Why use a Real Estate Agent when Buying?

Followings are the reason why to get a real estate agent when buying a house:

  • Real estate agents have extensive knowledge of the local housing market such as recent sales, property prices and neighborhood.
  • Experienced agents are skilled negotiators. They help you get the best deal and navigate the hurdles of transactions.
  • Agents provide guidance and support throughout the buying process which reduces stress and makes you have a smooth experience.

Read More: Best Mortgage Lenders 2023

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