Steps to Buying a House for the First Time

McArthur Homes

The steps to buying a house for the first time can seem daunting to new home buyers, but when done right the buying process can be a breeze. Don’t worry about the stress and pressure this big decision creates, read these tips for buying and building a home to make it an easy process for you.

1. Review Your Finances

Before driving through your dream neighborhood or fantasizing about your future luxurious home, take a serious look at your finances and consider all of the steps to buying a house for the first time. When looking through your finances, first make sure that you have enough money in your savings account to cover a few months of emergency expenses, including a mortgage payment.

Next look at your monthly budget to make sure that you have enough to cover normal living expenses such as gas, food, entertainment, etc. Be sure there is enough wiggle room for your house payment and money to cover other home expenses.

When thinking about ways to finance your home and pay the monthly dues, be sure to check into the benefits offered to first time homebuyers.

Remember that many realtors will not spend time with clients who have not specified how much they are looking to spend and sellers will not entertain an offer without a mortgage pre-approval. This step to buying a house is crucial to get off to a good start.

Calculator and finances

2. Shop Around for a Mortgage

When going through the steps to buying a house for the first time, avoid feeling committed to the first person you talk to first when seeking a pre-approval or a mortgage. Shop around with different lenders. Rates significantly vary depending on whether you are applying for your FHA loan through a local bank, credit union, or mortgage broker.

Be sure to have a backup lender just in case your primary lender falls through last minute. Underwriting guidelines shift, lender risk-analysis changes, and investor markets can alter. Qualifying does not guarantee your loan will be funded, have a plan B just in case. This tip for buying a home can be learned the hard way or easily avoided by just finding a second possible lender.

Man reviewing financial paperwork

3. Find a Realtor

Now that you have determined your budget and the loan amount you will qualify for, it is time to find a real estate agent. This is one of the most important steps to buying a home for the first time, especially if you have very little knowledge of the local housing market. Be sure to do your research. A great realtor can really help when giving tips for buying a home. They are the experts in home buying and preferably experts in the homes near where you are looking.

Do the following before choosing your realtor:

  1. Talk with recent clients
  2. Look up the licensing
  3. Select agents with the right credentials
  4. Research how long the agents have been in business
  5. Look at their current listings
  6. Select a realtor who will meet your needs

Keys in a door

4. Decide on a Neighborhood

Deciding on a neighborhood is your next step to buying a home for the first time. Be sure to consult your realtor on ideal locations. He or she should know all about the area and the pros and cons of living in different areas.

Consider the commute to your work, the proximity to loved ones and local schools, also consider access to necessities such as the grocery store and the gas station.Remember that the further away you get from a metropolitan area, the cheaper the housing and land is. But don’t let the price overshadow the accessibility. A long commute can undermine finances, marriage, and mental health so try and maintain a healthy balance between price and proximity.

“If houses are like spouses, a neighborhood is like the extended family,” says Liz Gray of HGTV. Take this little bit of advice seriously. Even if you love your house, you may not be able to live with it if your surrounding neighborhood is a drag. Be sure and study your ideal locations beforehand and make a list of “wants” and a list of “must haves” to help you better evaluate each home. These tips for buying a home can prove to be priceless in the end.

Homes in a neighborhood

5. Make an Offer

If you’re thinking about making an offer on a home, take another look at your budget to be sure there are not any unforeseen costs that cannot be covered. This is one of the most looked over steps to buying a house for the first time.

Consider the following when making an offer:

-Closing costs

-Moving expenses

-Immediate repairs


-Additional furniture

-The home inspection

-Home insurance

-Property Taxes

-Homeowners association fees

This list can seem daunting, but they are important to take into mind when making an offer.

Once your offer is made, do not be afraid to spend a little bit more on the home inspection. A $500 home inspection can be much more valuable than you think. The inspection can help you determine whether or not you have the money or are willing to make the repairs necessary to the home and may help you negotiate the price due to unforeseen problems. This quick tip for buying a home can help educate you on the condition of the house and avoid future complications.

Entryway and living room of a beautiful home

Biggest Mistakes

We have mentioned plenty of tips for buying a home, but here’s a list of the top 10 mistakes made by new homebuyers by skipping these little known steps to buying a house for the first time.

  1. Not knowing what you can afford
  2. Skipping mortgage qualification
  3. Failing to consider additional expenses
  4. Being too picky
  5. Lacking vision
  6. Being swept away at first glance
  7. Compromising on the important things
  8. Neglecting to inspect
  9. Not hiring an agent
  10. Not planning for the future

Don’t fall into these traps of new home buyers. Apply our 5 easy steps to buying a house for the first time and avoid the pitfalls that come from being uninformed. Choose the right home for you and your future family, making it yours to create memories in for years to come!

Message From Our Founders

Why we love building homes in Utah

Don, Dave and Ron share why they love building new homes for Utah families. Hear their story of starting McArthur Homes and what makes us different from other builders.

View Now »

Behind the Scenes

a closer look at construction

McArthur Homes does many things to build a safer, healthier and stronger home for you and your family. VP of Construction, John Gassman, takes you on a tour behind the scenes to see how we do it.

View Now »

Utah Communities

Change your lifestyle in one of our great communities.

View Our Communities

Design My Home

Find Your Community, House Plan, and Then, Design Your Home


Schedule a Tour

Schedule a tour at any of our beautiful new home communities!

Schedule Now

Ask a McArthur

Let's Talk Today

We’re here to answer any question or concern you may have. Our process is an open book and we’re happy to share it with you. Click here to talk to a McArthur representative and ask away!