4 Essential Tips for First-Time Home-Buyers

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Buying a home for the first time is an exciting adventure but comes with many new experiences. Home buying is also complicated and can become overwhelming if you are not prepared. However, owning your first home is attainable and easy with the right research and proper planning. Here are four first-time homebuyer tips to help you on the path to home ownership.

1. Use a mortgage broker

Getting a mortgage to buy your first home is one of the biggest financial commitments, but it can be complicated. Without thousands of products available in the market, finding the right deal for your needs isn't easy.

It's worth finding a professional mortgage broker, like CMB, to help you with every step. A mortgage broker can search for the right mortgage for your situation and offer personal advice tailored to your needs. Brokers are also well-versed in the mortgage industry, so they might know programs that offer lower interest rates and better terms.

2. Check and improve your credit score

Lenders usually use a borrower's credit score to determine whether they are eligible for a mortgage. They will also use your score to determine the terms and interest rate they will charge for the loan. The higher your credit score, the better your loan terms and the lower the interest rate you will get on your mortgage.

Check your credit score from any of the three major credit bureaus; TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian. Dispute and correct any errors in your credit report and find opportunities to improve your score.

Of course, you can qualify for certain mortgages with a credit score of as low as 500, but many lenders want a score of at least 620-680 to consider your loan application. A lender might also charge you a higher interest rate on your loans if you have a lower credit score.  

3. Save for a down payment

Saving for a down payment is a key step to homeownership. Before granting a mortgage, most lenders require a downpayment to reduce their risk in financing the remaining cost of the home. They expect you to put down 20% for a home, but you can qualify for a fixed-rate traditional loan with as little as 3%. However, a higher down payment means a lower principal balance and interest rate on your mortgage.

First-time homebuyers may also access certain mortgages that allow for low or no down payments, such as a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan.

4. Get a mortgage pre-approval

Getting a mortgage pre-approval is a critical step toward buying a home. Having a preapproval letter shows a real estate agent or home seller that you are a serious buyer and can give you an advantage over other home shoppers. It also helps you set your budgetary limits and ensure that any home you are considering is a home you can finance.

A first-time homebuyer with outstanding debt or poor credit might need to apply for mortgage pre-approval as fast as possible to fix the issue. Once approved for the loan, stick to your budget and savings plan and continue to pay your debts on time.


Buying a home as a first-time home buyer can be daunting. However, doing your homework and following these tips can help you avoid common first-time homebuyer mistakes and successfully negotiate a major step in your life.

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February 26, 2023
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