So, you’ve decided you are in the market for buying a new home—now what? The process can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first experience as a homebuyer. Here is a checklist of things to keep in mind during the home buying process.

Know Your Budget

First things first—make a budget and ensure that you can really afford this. Often, it’s a good idea to do this well in advance, so you have plenty of time to start saving up. There are different types of mortgages out there (if you aren’t buying a new home with cash), so it’s good to know the pros and cons of different ones.

It’s a good rule of thumb to make a down payment of at least 10%, and you will get the best rates if you aim for 20%. But no matter what you pick, make sure you know your absolute maximum—and don’t exceed it! Also, check your credit so there are no surprises, and clear up any existing problems with your credit before you move on. Mortgage calculators can help you plan for what you can afford.

Get Pre-Approved

If you’re going for a mortgage, now is the time to get pre-approved. This process can take a month, so it’s good to get the ball rolling ASAP. In order to get pre-approved, you will need proof of employment, proof of income and assets, good credit, and identity documentation.

Find Your Realtor

Assuming you aren’t going it alone, it’s time to find a realtor who is a good fit for you! If you are thinking about navigating the process by yourself, make sure you are absolutely sure. After all, 87% of home buyers used a real estate agent or broker in 2018.

Set Your Expectations

This is when you sit down (by yourself or with your realtor) and figure out what exactly you’re looking for when buying a new home. What are your absolute deal breakers? What are things you would be willing to compromise on if need be? Make sure you have a full list of what you’re looking for—and also make sure your expectations are realistic for your budget.

Open Houses

Now is the fun part of buying a new home that most look forward to! You get to tour houses and (hopefully) find one that is great for you! One important thing here is to go in with an open mind and look at plenty of options. It’s easy to fall in love with one house, which could hamper your overall judgment.

Explore the Area

If you find a house that is well-suited to your needs, awesome! Now take the time to explore the neighborhood and city so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Location can be just as important as the house itself, so take your time and do your research before you commit to buying a new home. As the saying goes, “your vibe attracts your tribe”—but in this case, look for a neighborhood with a vibe that attracts you.


A very important bonus tip—while house hunting, don’t make any other major life changes! Buying a new home is already a huge commitment, so don’t overwhelm yourself or destabilize the process by throwing other variables into the mix. Also, try to avoid anything that could possibly bring down your credit.

Rely on the Sarah Bernard Realty Team

Contact Sarah Bernard Realty today so we can help you get your foot in the door! We will do everything we can to ensure your home buying process is as smooth as possible. That’s why we have an entire team that lives to make your home buying transactions less complicated, relaxed, and efficient. Our full-time Realtors and support team truly care about our clients and operate with the utmost integrity, up-to-the-minute communication with everyone involved, and a responsiveness that exceeds expectations.