Here are some tips for you as a first-time home buyer:

  1. Educate Yourself: Find free seminars for first-time home buyers. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a hotline to help you locate free pre-purchase counseling near you: 1-800-569-4287.

  2. Take Your Time: Don't let anyone pressure you into signing anything quickly. A legitimate business will give you time to review a contract before signing it. Never sign a document with blank spaces.

  3. Have Your Own Attorney: Before signing any contracts or loan documents, have your own attorney review them. It's not a good idea to use an attorney provided by the seller or lender. Ask your attorney about any parts of the contract you don't fully understand.

  4. Shop Around for Mortgages: Look for the best mortgage terms that you qualify for. The seller should not force you to use a specific mortgage bank. 

  5. Get an Independent Inspection: Make sure to get an independent inspection of the home. Negotiate a contract clause that allows you to choose your inspector and cancel the contract if you're not satisfied with the inspection. Hire a licensed engineer or architect for the inspection, and don't rely solely on the lender's appraisal.

  6. Put Promises in Writing: If the seller promises future repairs or renovations, make sure they are put in writing. If the work isn't complete by the time of closing, ensure that repair funds are placed in an escrow account until the work is finished.

  7. Review Documents Carefully: Before you finalize the purchase of your home, make sure you and your attorney understand and agree with any last-minute changes in the documents. It's essential to be on the same page before closing the deal.

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Last Reviewed: November 5, 2023