My First House (page 4 of 5)

Location. Location. Location.

It may be the oldest cliche in real estate but the location of your home is as important as the floor plan and design.  ZILLOW.COM is a website that lets you search homes for sale on a map.

Trulia Mobile App

The Trulie Mobile App is a great way to shop for a house.  Look for it at your app store.

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Saving to Buy


10 Tips to Finding the Perfect Home

Here are 10 tips from on how to find the perfect home.  CLICK HERE


It's rare that your first house is your dream house.  Whatever compromises you make (and you'll probably have to make some) you may be stuck with for years. 

Finding Your House

Congratulations!  You should be pre-approved and it's time to start looking for the home of your dreams.  When making such an important life and financial decision it's important to remember it's not always easy.  Buying a home can be a high-pressure, extremely emotional decision. 

You may want a brand new, 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 3,000 square foot house with the perfect yard.  You will probably be able to find this house, just know that perfect houses come with high price tags.  Remember, when you find a house that has everything you want, it's probably a house everyone else wants, and you have to pay top dollar for it. 

Here are some tips to remember when shopping for your first house.


When deciding if a particular house fits your budget you need to look beyond the list price and your probably mortgage payments.  To make an honest comparision of all costs you're incurring be sure to include the following items.  A good starting point would be to budget no more than 33% of your gross monthly income for your home.

  • Mortgage Payment:  CLICK HERE to use our mortgage calculator to calculate your monthly payments.
  • Property Taxes:  Each city charges a different amount for property taxes.  Be sure to find out what the annual property taxes are for the property when looking at houses.
  • Insurance:  Since your home is such an important financial commitment it must be insured.  You can often save on auto & home insurance when you get them from the same insurance company.  It's always a good practice to get estimates from more than one company.
  • Townhome/ Condo Association Fees:  Townhomes & Condos can be great for your first home because someone else may be mowing the grass, moving snow or maybe even re-shingling the room when it's needed.  These services aren't free, typically you pay a set amount each month.  If you're looking into one of these homes be sure to get a copy of the Townhome or Condo Assocation's agreement/ contract.
  • Utilities:  Each house is a little different.  If you're looking at buying an older house the utilities may be higher.  The best way to determine the monthly costs is to get a copy of a winter & summer bills including trash removal, water/ sewage, gas and electric.
  • Maintenance:  When you're a home owner if something breaks, you have to fix it.  It's good to save 2-4% of your homes purchase price to spend on maintenance each year.  You can also talk to the seller or your real estate agent about a home warranty.


Each buyer may have a different definition of what is an "acceptable condition" for a home, as may each seller.  Unless you're buying a brand new house, your home may need some upgrades.  What you need to do is be sure the issues aren't structural and don't come with a big price tag. 

Major issues like a cracked foundation, leaky roof or insect problems can cost you big money.  Minor issues such as outdated decor or paint colors can be easily updated and make a big change to the overall feel of your home.  Other issues to consider are the age of appliances, condition of windows and potential remodel are also items to consider when shopping.


To fit a budget you may have to look at a smaller house than you would initially prefer.  Often when people think of house size they think of square footage, but that can be misleading.  When comparing square footage consider how the space is laid out and how that fits what you want.  Remember to consider:

Closet Space:  Don't go for the most number, measure the length and determine which has the amount of closet square footage and how it will hold your household items.

Bedrooms:  Are there enough?  Are the sizes to your liking?  One thing to consider is your future expansion plan.  Do you have kids or are they in the near future?  (If so check out our newborn page).  Another consideration is whether there's room for guests.  If there aren't bedrooms is there another space that could work, like an attic or basement?

Working From Home:  If you work from home is there a space for a desk and computer? 

Can I Live in the Kitchen:  If you love to cook this could be a make or break room in the house.  What's the overall feel?  Are you looking for a one-wall, galley, L-shape, horseshoe, island or peninsula style?  Don't forget to think about how the space fits you, your family and your guests.  The most inportant question to ask is whether or not this kitchen suits your needs. 


Location. Location. Location.  The location you select will have as big of an impact as anything.  The distance from work and what more or less drive time will do to your free time and budget.  

Also consider the type of neighborhood you'll be in.  Spend some time hanging out around the neighborhood you think you want to move to before putting an offer in on a house. 

Resale value should also play a part in your decision making process.  Since there is a good chance you'll move again ask yourself if your new house would be difficult to sell 10 years from now.

To get more house for your money, you may look along the edge of your preferred neighborhood or possibly in a smaller town nearby.  To determine whether moving farther out is worth the sacrifice, look at a house in the area you like and a similar one 15 to 30 minutes away.  Do a test drive, if the drive and added fuel costs don't bother you it may be worth looking at a house out of town.


CLICK HERE to go to step 5 (What to look for at closing)


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