First time buyer tips. Doing something for the first time is always a challenge. The same goes for buying your first home (or helping someone you know with their first home purchase). Today, that can be even more challenging, with competition from more buyers for fewer homes. Here’s how to succeed in making homeownership a reality.

Find out your credit score. Go to, the only source for free credit reports authorized by federal law. You can now get one free report weekly from each of the three major credit bureaus. Lenders use this score to determine your viability as a borrower. Here’s more information if you need to improve your credit score.

Calculate your DTI. Your DTI (debt-to-income ratio) is also important when applying for a mortgage. It shows the percent of your income that’s used to pay your bills. Divide your monthly debts by your monthly income. For example, if you make $6,000 per month and have $2,700 in monthly debts, that’s a DTI of 45%.

Familiarize yourself with mortgage terminology. The mortgage lending process uses some special terms that will be unfamiliar to newcomers. Here are the definitions of the key mortgagefirst time buyer tips terms you may come across, provided by the federal government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Learn about different loan options. We’re happy to talk to you about the various loan options available. You can get a head start on the conversation by looking at some background information. Here’s more on loan options from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Don’t forget closing costs. In addition to the cost of the home, there are charges involved with the buying process—items such as an appraisal, home inspection, credit reporting, title work, origination fees, and more. Closing costs are typically about 3% to 6% of the purchase price. You can either plan to pay these costs, or finance them as part of the mortgage.

First time buyer tips

Save what you need for a down payment. While a 20% down payment isn’t required to buy a home, if you put down less, you might have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). Depending on your circumstances, you could qualify for a loan with lower down payment options like: a fixed-rate conventional loan; an FHA loan; a VA loan for active military and veterans; a USDA loan with programs for people who live in rural areas who meet certain income qualifications. A lender can help research these loans, as well as first-time homebuyer programs from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and government resources. These can help with a down payment or give you additional low down payment options.


Tibbetts real estate buyer tips

Experienced representation

Think about how to make a competitive offer. You should absolutely show credit worthiness and your mortgage pre-approval with your offer. Additionally working with an experienced real estate broker or agent is key when forming your offer to purchase. An experienced broker can guide you through the paperwork, current market situation and the nuances of making an offer. When it comes time to bid on a property, you can include or remove items in your offer to purchase that strengthen your position as a buyer.