Buying your first home — what you need to know


Buying your first home can be exciting, terrifying, and thrilling – often all at once! The numerous decisions and unfamiliar terms that come with the process, such as interest rates, mortgage insurance, pre-approval…the list seems endless, but with the right guidance you can make it through the process with flying colors.

Having guided hundreds of people through the home buying journey, first-time home buyers hold a special place in my heart. I recently worked with a young couple who were determined to find their first home. Tired of throwing their money away on rent, (which is basically 100 percent interest) but concerned they didn’t have enough money for a down payment, they were discouraged. At our very first meeting, we spent some time strategizing about what they needed to do. I was able to connect them with a mortgage broker who understood their situation and within a month they were able to buy the home of their dreams. 

Following are some tips that will help you as you prepare to embark on your home buying journey. And, if you need some more advice, please join us for a first-time home buyers workshop – details below.

  1. Financial Preparation: Before diving into the real estate market, it’s crucial to assess your financial readiness. Take a close look at your budget, evaluate your credit score, and consider meeting with a mortgage advisor to determine a comfortable budget for your first home.
  2. Work with a Realtor: Engaging the services of a qualified real estate agent can make the entire process smoother. An agent is your best source of information about current real estate market trends in your desired location. Are you entering a buyer’s or seller’s market? An experienced agent will understand your needs, negotiate on your behalf, and guide you through the paperwork maze – which can often seem a bit overwhelming.
  3. The Importance of Pre-Approval: Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a game-changer. It not only gives you a clear understanding of your budget but also makes your offer more appealing to sellers. Your real estate agent can connect you with lenders who can find the best mortgage option for your situation.
  4. Long-Term Vision: When selecting your first home, consider its long-term potential. Is it a property that can accommodate your future needs? Thinking ahead will save you from outgrowing your space too quickly.
  5. Patience is a Virtue: Finding the perfect home takes time, and the process may involve a few twists and turns. Be patient, stay focused on your goals, and trust that the right property will come along.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Your dream of homeownership is within reach, and with careful planning and guidance, you’ll soon be opening the door to a place you can truly call your own.

Need more advice on buying your first home? Please join us for a first-time home buyers workshop which will be held in our office February 15 at 5:30. Stop by for some advice and snacks. Come get your questions answered! Please contact me at for details on the workshop or questions on buying your first home.

Happy house hunting!

About the Author: Jennifer Cosgrove O’Leary is one of the top 10 Realtors® (as certified by Real Trends) in the state of Rhode Island and the Co-Owner/Broker of Greenwich Bay Brokers. She is the only Certified Divorce Real Estate agent in the state, and is also a Senior Real Estate Specialist.  Jennifer leverages her years of interior design experience, as well as her degree in occupational therapy to provide guidance on the critical aesthetic and ease of use elements that are part of the home buying and selling process.