The Ultimate Guide for First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home for the first time can be a little nerve-wracking. This is probably the largest purchase of your life, so it’s important to have all your ducks in a row. Below is the ultimate list of tips for first-time homebuyers from your favorite Lake of the Ozarks real estate agents.


1. Take a Look at Your Credit Report.

Your credit is one of the most important factors when it comes to getting financing for your home. It also helps lenders determine the interest rate you qualify for. Check your credit report to make sure there aren’t any mistakes on it, and if there are, get them fixed. If your credit score is less than desirable, start working now to improve it before you apply for a home loan. Once you start the home buying process, particularly the mortgage process, don’t open any new credit accounts. Your credit report will be looked at again just before closing, and any changes could have a negative impact on your final mortgage approval.

2. Start Saving for a Down Payment Early.

While you don’t necessarily have to put down the traditional 20% on a home, you’ll likely still have to put something down. Some first-time home buyer programs allow as little as 3% down, but that can still be a hefty chunk of cash. Use a down payment calculator to help you determine a goal amount to save for. The earlier you start saving, the easier it will be to make that down payment when the time to buy a home at the Lake of the Ozarks comes along.

3. Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval.

Find a mortgage lender to help you through the process of applying for a home loan. There are a variety of different home loan options available, so be sure to do your research to see which ones you qualify for and what the best option for your situation would be. A knowledgeable lender will guide you to the best decision. Once you’ve decided what loan type you’ll get, be sure to get a mortgage pre-approval. Not only does a pre-approval give you an idea of how much you can afford, but it will let sellers know you’re serious about buying when you put in an offer.

4. Create a Home Buying Budget.

Once you have an idea of how much home you can afford based on your mortgage pre-approval, you can create a budget. In this budget, you’ll not only want to include your monthly mortgage payment, insurance and taxes, but also all the other expenses that go along with owning your own home. This can include utilities, maintenance costs, emergency expenses etc. Don’t forget to include closing costs in your budget as well.

5. Think About Your Home Needs.

You probably have an idea of what your dream home would look like. While it’s great to dream, you likely won’t find that exact home on the market. Before you start looking at homes for sale, create a list of what you need in a home and what you would like to have, but could live without if needed. You need to be prepared to compromise or your home search will never end. Set your emotions aside and think practically.

6. Find the Right Buyer’s Agent.

The best way to ensure your home buying process runs as smooth as possible is to hire the right buyer’s agent at the Lake of the Ozarks. Devine on Demand has you covered – we specialize in first time home buyers, and we’re all about building customer relationships. We’ll guide you through the home buying process and help you realize your dream of owning a home at the Lake!

7. Check Out the Neighborhoods.

When buying a home, it’s important to think about more than just the home itself. You can always remodel parts of the home down the road to fit your needs, but you can’t change the location. Before deciding on a home, check out the neighborhood. Talk to your agent about the area and learn about crime, neighbors, etc. You’ll also want to consider the commute to your workplace, the children’s school and other places you regularly visit.

8. Look Past the Staging.

While staging can be great for envisioning a home’s potential, be sure to look past it. Think about what the home would look like with your personal belongings in it. Pay more attention to the layout of the home and how it flows. Consider the structure itself rather than just what’s in it making it look great. Paint colors can be changed after you move in, but the structure itself will be more difficult to alter.

9. Understand the Home Inspection.

 The home inspection is very important in determining if you’re making a good purchase. The home inspector isn’t going to tell you if you should or shouldn’t buy a home.  Instead, they will just present the facts. Make sure you understand everything that home inspector looks at. Not all inspections check for radon, mold or pests, so be sure to ask about those things. Make sure the inspector goes into the attic and any crawl spaces. You want to make sure every aspect of the home is in good shape before you make the investment. If it’s not, you’ll want to see what the seller is willing to fix before the sale.

10. Negotiate the Home Price.

During the home buying process, a lot of negotiations can be made. This can result in major savings, which is huge when you’re talking about a purchase as big as a home. If there are any major repairs needed for the house, you can ask the seller to cover them. See if the seller is willing to pay any of the closing costs. In many cases, the seller will bargain with you just the get the sale done.

11. Read the Contract Before You Sign It.

Purchasing a home is a large investment. In fact, it’s likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make. Thereore, it’s important to make sure you understand what you’re doing. That includes reading the contract before signing it. Make sure you understand all of the terms and agree with them. If you don’t understand anything in the language, be sure to talk to your agent and mortgage lender. They’re there to help you, and they work for you, not the seller.

If you’re ready to jump into the home buying process, our Lake of the Ozarks real estate company is here to guide you. We specialize in first time home buyers and residential real estate at the Lake of the Ozarks. Our team works together to go above & beyond the hopes and dreams of our buyers. Contact us today at 573-286-6216 to get started!


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