First-Time Home Buyers

If you are a first-time home buyer, use the guide below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home in Greater Pittsburgh.

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes - things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller.
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
  1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
  2. A list or file of the properties that your agent has shown to you.
  3. Paper and pen for taking notes as you search.
  4. A camera to snap pictures of homes you have toured to help you remember your favorites and features you really liked.
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).

Lending Process Explained

Buying a home might possibly be one of the largest purchases you make, don’t you want the best people to help you along the way? Lisa Jackson talks with Scott from Equity Resources to bring you information about the lending process when purchasing a home.

This 4-part Lender Talk Video Series covers the following topics:

  • Lending Process When Purchasing a Home
  • Additional Fees that May Come Up When Getting a Mortgage
  • Types of Loans based on Your Situation
  • Being Prepared When Buying a Home

Lender Talk with Scott Trout of Equity Resources Inc.

Lisa Jackson - Credit
Buying a home might possibly be one of the largest purchases you make, don’t you want the best people to help you along the way? Lisa Jackson talks with Scott from Equity Resources to bring you information about the lending process when purchasing a home. Your credit score is going to be one of the most important factors when seeing if you are ready to buy a home. Things that affect your credit are the payment history, how much you currently owe, and the length of your credit. If you have at least a 580
Lender Talk - Cost
Scott Trout of Equity Resources talks with Lisa about all the fees that may come up when getting a mortgage. When you have decided now might be a good time to make the leap to homeownership, one of the first things you should do is find a lender. Different lenders are going to be able to offer you different fees, it's not always just about the best interest rate. Fees will include underwriting, appraisal, title, transfer tax, and property tax. All of these are in addition to the down payment you may bri
Lender Talk - Programs
When starting the home buying process your lender will explore all the types of loans available to you based on your situation. There are four main types VA, USDA, FHA, and Conventional loans. Each one has pros and cons and special requirements in order to qualify. The biggest misconception is that you need 20% for the down payment, this is no longer the case some of the programs mentioned require 0% down and others a minimum of 3%. If you are interested in seeing if you qualify for any of these prog
Lender Talk - Being Prepared to Buy
Buying a home is a big purchase, it is important to have someone in your corner and help guide you through it. For many when they first think it's time to look out for houses they often start looking at homes online. However, your first step should be to talk to a lender to get pre-approved. They can help you decide if you are ready, how much you can afford, and if your credit is in a good place. The worst thing would be to fall in love with a home that you find out you can’t actually afford. Once you are

All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss any questions you may have.