First Time Homebuyer's Guide

First Time Homebuyer


Congratulations on the decision to buy your first home!

Purchasing a home is very exciting, yet can be overwhelming. Use the guide below to help you understand everything you need to know about buying your first home.

  1. Get Pre-Qualified & Approved

    Before you start searching for a home, it is beneficial to get pre-qualified for a maximum amount of money you can borrow to purchase your home. You will need to choose a lender, like United Mortgage, to get pre-qualified. United Mortgage will ask you basic questions about your financial history; this includes pay stubs, two years’ worth of tax returns, account statements verifying the source of your down payment, and funds to close. You will also need your credit report and social security number. Once those documents are received, United Mortgage will put together your pre-approval letter with the maximum amount you are allowed to borrow for a home. Having this letter is important, because it proves you are a credible buyer and can act fast when you want to purchase.

    The pre-approval amount you receive from your lender is the maximum amount you can borrow, so that doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy a home for that amount. Use our Affordability Calculator to get a better idea of what you can responsibly afford. Ready to get started? Apply now to get pre-approved!

  2. Choose a Real Estate Agent & Start Your Search

    Before you choose a real estate agent, do your homework on 2 to 3 agents before selecting one, even if one happens to be your relative or close friend.

    • Ask the agents to provide a list of clients they have worked with in the past year. Reach out to a few to see if they were happy or dissatisfied with their experience.
    • Partner with an agent who is full-time in the business. Are they available when you are?
    • Partner with an agent who has the experience and knowledge working in the neighborhoods that you are interested in.

    Now that you’ve chosen your real estate agent, ask them to search the MLS for homes that meet your criteria. Have fun house shopping!

  3. Purchase Agreement

    Once you have found a home that meets your criteria and is within your pre-approved loan amount, you are ready for the purchase and sale agreement. Decide with your realtor what price you would like to offer for the home, if you have repair requests, and a move in date. Your Realtor will then submit your pre-approval letter and offer to the sellers. Be prepared for the seller to come back with a counter offer, so you need to be willing to negotiate.

  4. Appraisal & Home Inspection

    Once you come to an agreement on the home, you will need to have it appraised and inspected. An Appraiser will visit the home, inspect its condition, and determine an opinion of the home’s value. Once it is appraised, the property will be inspected for termites, water damage, and any safety hazards. Some problems may need to be repaired before finalizing the sale.

  5. Mortgage Insurance & Final Loan Approval

    Your final loan approved amount may change depending on the appraisal, or if repairs need to be made to the property. Once everything is completed, you will be able to sign the final loan and escrow documents.

  6. Closing

    Once you are approved, a check for the amount of your loan will be sent to a title company, then the title company authorizes the escrow company to draft a check to the seller. You are now ready to move in to your first home!