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Preparing for Homeownership

10 Things a First-Time Homebuyer Should Know

Alie Kelley | 9 Nov 2018

You’ve always dreamed about buying your own home, and finally becoming a homeowner. Just imagine, sitting in your cozy living room, with a garden out back and your own laundry machine! But you also know there is a lot more to homebuying than simply going to an open house, making a quick offer, and getting the keys.

At Landed, we are here to support you through your own homebuying journey, and to make sure you feel informed and confident in your decisions along the way. To make the process smoother for you, we work hand-in-hand with great individuals and organizations across different sectors, from real estate agents and mortgage lenders to financial planners and community leaders.

We’ve captured great advice from some of our top Landed partner agents. Read on to discover ten things you should know before buying a home.

1. Use the team you have on your side.

“Use care in selecting the team you will use through this process. It can be complicated at times, and having an experienced support group is key in taking the stress, confusion, and worry out of the process.”

–Kris Hansen, Denver County, CO

2. Take time to learn and understand the process.

“Buying your first home can be scary and stressful. It is, oftentimes, the largest purchase a person will make in their lifetime. There are a lot of steps to making sure you've found the right home, like [passing] an inspection, [getting] an appraisal, finding property insurance, approving the association’s and owner's documents, and possibly [getting] a survey of the land you are purchasing. At each of those steps, you get to say ‘Yes, this is the home for me,’ or ‘No thanks, I want to keep looking.’ But, once you've found the right home and the papers are signed, you get to come home every day to a home that is truly yours, and you can make it whatever you want it to be! That is one of the best feelings.”

–Emily Baker, Denver County, CO 

3. Plan for and find homeownership that fits within your financial goals.

“Consult a financial advisor about the bigger picture before buying your first home, to make sure buying a home is in line with your overall goals. There is a lot to learn when buying your first home; work with someone you feel can teach you about the process.”

–Crystal Roberts, San Francisco County, CA

4. Set realistic expectations.

“Before buying your first home, a first-time homebuyer should know that it is nothing like what you see on HGTV or Million Dollar Listing!”

–Lindsay Hogan, Santa Clara County, CA 

“The list price is not always indicative of what the home will sell for, so you need a realtor who is good at reading the tea leaves.”

–Angela Burnett, San Mateo County, CA

5. Define your financial limits.

“Secure financing before you fall in love with a home. You may not qualify for that home, and it makes it difficult to look at anything else after you have found ‘The One.’ Find smart money. Utilizing an amazing company like Landed helps you with your down payment, and a down payment is never a bad investment. Don't spend every dollar you qualify for.”

–Danielle Martini, Arapahoe County, CO

6. Pay attention to all the costs involved in buying a home. 

“The financial commitment does not stop at the down payment. You should also budget $10,000 - $12,000 in closing costs and $800 - $1,000 for inspections. There are additional maintenance items that you will want to do before you move into the home. Having a little extra money left over for ongoing maintenance or unexpected repairs is always good practice.”

–Greg Lukina, Santa Cruz County, CA

7. Think about both your current and future lifestyle.

“Finding the perfect home that allows your life to flourish is a thrilling, fulfilling event. It's our job to understand your lifestyle, and then hunt for a home that meets those expectations… It's all about you. We ask a lot of questions, take notes, and help you think deeply about your life and new home, so that we can find the right fit.”

–Olivia McNally, San Mateo County, CA

8. (You’ve heard it before, but…) Focus on three things: location, location, location.

“Before buying their first home, a new homebuyer should learn about the local community and neighborhood, to determine what best matches their interests and lifestyle. We guide our buyers on the local market conditions, local school districts, proximity to local shopping, restaurants, and commuting to major freeways and employers.”

–Sam Xavier, Los Angeles County, CA 

9. Find a way to stand out in the crowd - mention that you’re a local educator! 

“To be competitive, it's not always about top dollar.”

–Edward Ong, San Francisco County, CA

“Always include a well-thought-out, personalized letter with your offer, as sometimes it can be the difference between winning or losing the home.” 

–Angela Burnett, San Mateo County, CA

10. Ask your Landed team anything – we’re here for you! 

“Be ready to ask many questions; there are no dumb questions.”

–Francis Rolland, Santa Clara County, CA


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Preparing for Homeownership

About the Author

Alie Kelley

Alie Kelley is a former educator who is driven to find innovative solutions that remove barriers and open doors for greater social mobility and equity. She works with Landed's customer account management team.

Looking for Landed's down payment program? Due to a temporary unavailability of DPP investment funds, all Landed metro areas are being put on a DPP waitlist effective September 8, 2022. You can read all the details (including FAQs) here if you would like to know more.