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3 min read

Things I learned as a first-time buyer

Mar 4, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Buying a house for the first time is a crazy, whirlwind experience. You have no clue what to expect yet you feel like you’re supposed to know the ins and outs of real estate. No one knows what they’re doing for the first time, so you’re not alone, but, this is where having a great agent by your side comes in. During my first time buying, I learned A LOT, so here’s a list of a few.

Things I learned as a first-time buyer

Real estate agent

  • A lot of people think agents are “sketchy” or maybe they don’t do enough work to warrant what they make… the simple solution? Find an agent who is worth it. Either way, the buyer does not pay for the agent’s fee - the seller does - but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about your agent. Find one you like and that you trust. It’ll make your life so much easier.
  • You don’t have to sign a contract with a buyers agent. An agent may ask you to, and that’s OK. Just make sure you are comfortable with that agent before you choose to sign anything and make sure you know what you are signing and what it means. Again, some agents will ask you to sign, some won’t. Both situations are fine and can be great, just make sure you understand what you are signing first.


  • You should absolutely get pre-approved before you plan to submit an offer on a home. It will make you that much stronger as a buyer, and it will show both sellers and agents that you are a serious and qualified buyer.
  • To get a mortgage, you need to make sure you have pay stubs, bank statements, and W2s for the past few years. If you’ve switched jobs a lot, just make sure you can find all of these statements for when it comes time to send them to the bank
  • While you’re in the process of getting approved for a mortgage, do not open any new credit cards or make any large purchases, like a new car

Home inspection

  • You need to get a home inspection done after you’ve signed your offer, and the cost is on you to pay on the date it occurs.
  • The purpose of the home inspection is to pull out every tiny, little detail of your home and what could potentially go wrong. A good inspector will tell you if anything is of concern, and your agent will be able to tell you, as well
  • You should show up to the home inspection so that you can listen to everything the inspector is saying during the inspection. If you don’t go, you might see the final report and have a slight panic attack about all of the things that could potentially go wrong with your new home. Again, you should ask your inspector or your agent if you see anything in the report that scares you.
  • You don’t need to use this time to measure things in your home, you’ll be able to enter again after signing the P&S


  • The P&S is the purchase and sale agreement
  • This is the initial document you sign after you have signed the offer letter
  • You most likely do not need to sign this in person - you can sign electronically

Closing Costs

  • What are closing costs? “Closing costs” is a term that’s used to as a way to describe every single fee you pay when you close - some of this will include homeowners insurance, title insurance, your attorney fees, etc.
  • You likely won’t know the final closing costs until very close to your close date, but your bank will give you an estimate beforehand.

Title Insurance

  • One of the things that is an optional add on to your closing costs is title insurance. Title insurance for your home protects you in case of any disputes with your title. Most attorneys suggest you purchase this, especially if your home is very old

Closing Day

  • On the day of your closing, you’ll likely either meet at your attorney’s office or local registry of deeds, where you’ll spend about 1 to 2 hours signing documents. It’s extremely overwhelming, and by the end of it your signature will be a scribble, but you’ll almost be a homeowner!
  • After you’re done signing, it takes a few hours for it to go “on record” - your attorney will let you know when that’s complete, and then congrats, you are a homeowner!

There’s a lot to learn as a first-time buyer, but that’s why Dwellful exists. We’ll match you with an agent and be here to answer any questions you have along the way.

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Jess Levanchy

Written by Jess Levanchy