First Time Home Buyer Checklist

by Jeff Ragan

Would you like a cool first time home buyer checklist to
help you with the process?

A quick and easy home buying checklist as well as a mortgage checklist to help you with that first home purchase. It helps you understand in a list order what you need to accomplish in the home buying process.

This checklist basically spells out the steps of buying a home and getting a mortgage in a brief outline like manner.

The advantage of having a list such as this is you can take it with you. As you're working on the list you can check each item off when its complete.

love lists, they help keep me organized. When you're working on something and get interrupted, you can look at your list and remember what you were doing. That's a great help when your busy!

Be sure to print this list and use it to keep you on track.

First Time Home Buyer Checklist

    • Obtain a copy of your credit report

      • Is your score high or low? Correct any problems now.
      • Do you have high balances on your credit cards? Lower those balances that are close to your limit by paying them down.
      • Pay all your bills on time and be sure to do this for at least 12-18 months before you apply for a mortgage.

    • Next take a close look at income verses your expenses. This is called the debt-to-income ratio or "DTI".

      • If your expenses are high in relation to the income you are bringing in, recognize you need to either remove some debts by paying them off or increase your income. Maybe income from your mate could help. Perhaps you may have to do both, increase income and lower expenses.
      • Now calculate how much home you can afford. You can do this easily by using one of my mortgage calculators. The calculator will help you estimate what your mortgage payment might be.

    • Assess your down payment options.

      • Do you have money saved, at lease 3.5% in some kind of savings, like a money market or bank account? Does your retirement account allow you to borrow and is there enough to borrow the down payment?
      • I have scrutinized my down payment assistance options.
      • I have searched all the grant prospects available for my area.

    • Weigh the various loan programs that will work for you.

      • Conventional loans
      • FHA loans
      • Perhaps VA loans (if you're a veteran)

    • Time to begin the loan application procedure (the above things on the first time home buyer checklist can also be done through the application process).

      • Copy your last two pay stubs
      • Copy your bank statements for the last two months
      • Copy your last year's W-2

    • Secure pre-approval from a lender.

    • Search for the home you want to buy.

    • Put in a purchase agreement and have it accepted.

    • Lender ordered an appraisal.

    • Lender ordered a home inspection.

    • Loan approval finalized.

      • Give a copy of your last two current pay stubs.
      • Give a copy of your bank's last two month's of statements.
      • Give a copy of another year’s W-2 if your application finalization is in another year.
      • VERY IMPORTANT--Another credit report may be pulled (so if you made a major purchase during the loan process, like a car or furniture, your loan approval may be affected, so refrain from making any major purchases).

    • Do a walk through on the house before the closing (amazingly things can change from the time you put in the purchase agreement to the closing, like the electrical box turns up missing, so do a final walk through).

    • Sign the papers and get the keys!

    If you would like a PDF file to download and print of a first time homebuyer checklist just click here.

    Where would you like to go next?

    Learn all there is to know about the home buying process by reading this article.

    If you would like to understand the available programs, check out First Time Home Buyer Programs to see which one fits your needs.

    Wondering where to begin in choosing a lender? Choosing a Mortgage Company will give you some awesome tips in choosing a lender.


    Leave First Time Home Buyer Checklist and return to Home Buying Process main page.

    Go to House Buyer Solutions Home Page.

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