Home Buying Tips for First-Time Buyers in 2017

Are you a first-time buyer? Need some solid advice to guide you though the process? You've come to the right place. Since 2005, the Home Buying Institute has published expert tips and tutorials for first-time home buyers. Our library covers everything from house hunting to mortgage loans, from the initial planning to the final closing.

Trusted home buying advice

New and Featured Content

We've created one of the largest collections of home buying tips for first-time home buyers in 2017. Here are some of our most recent articles:

5 Things to Do Before Buying Your First Home
Buying a home is a huge investment. So it's important to get started on the right foot. Here are some things you should do -- and know -- before taking the big plunge.

Making Offers on More Than One Property
It might be legal for a home buyer to make offers on multiple properties, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. You risk losing your earnest money in this kind of scenario.

How Long Does Mortgage Underwriting Take?
After you apply for a home loan, your file will move on to the underwriting stage. This process can take anywhere from a few days up to several weeks, depending on these variables.

How Much Can I Afford With an FHA Loan?
The FHA loan program is very popular among home buyers. But there are some spending limits you need to know about. Loan limits and debt-to-income ratios are two examples.

Recent Home Buying Tips and Tutorials

We publish new information every week, to help you keep up with the housing market and mortgage industry. Here are the latest articles.

Definition of a Conforming Home Loan
A conforming loan is one that meets, or "conforms" with, the minimum standards set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This article explains what these rules are, where they come from, and how they can affect you as a borrower.

The Mortgage APR Explained
As a home buyer, you should understand the difference between the annual percentage rate (APR) and the "regular" interest rate. The APR shows the full cost of the loan, including fees and charges. The home buying tips in this article will help you keep it all straight.

Refinancing Without Closing Costs: It's a Tradeoff
This is one of the most common questions we receive from homeowners: Can I refinance my home without paying any closing costs? Some lenders are willing to waive some of their upfront fees. But it will cost you. They'll likely charge a higher interest rate.

Are 95% Mortgages Still Available These Days?
During the housing boom, many lenders were allowing down payments as low as 5% -- or even lower. But in the current market, 95% mortgage financing is harder to come by. It's also more expensive, because you'll probably have to pay PMI. But there options.

Can I Negotiate for a Lower Mortgage Rate?
Negotiating with a lender could work out to your advantage. For instance, if you shave a few basis points off your interest rate, it could save you thousands over the term of your loan. At the same time, you have to be realistic about your qualifications as a borrower.

Our Story: Helping First-Time Buyers Since 2006

We have been publishing home buying tips and tutorials for first-time buyers since 2004. HBI began as an email newsletter service, before launching this website in 2006. That's a full decade of offering tips on buying a first home! Where has the time gone?

Today, HBI is one of the most frequently visited, and widely cited, websites catering to home buyers and mortgage shoppers. We have received literally thousands of questions over the years (if only we had the staff to answer them all). As a result, we know what questions you have, as a first-time home buyer. Our website is designed to answer those questions in a clear and helpful manner. Here's to another ten years of helping buyers.

We publish new home buying tips on a weekly basis. Currently, our online library contains more than 500 tutorials. Most have been updated within the last year, to make them more useful and relevant. The most recent lessons can be found above. If you're a first-time buyer, you might want to start with the "featured advice" section found on this page.

Tip: Do you need even more tips for buying your first home in 2017? Try using the search box located in the upper-right corner of this (and every) page. Our website offers hundreds of tips and tutorials for first-time buyers, with new ones added every day. How do I choose the right type of loan? How do I make an offer to buy a house? How do I negotiate with the seller? You'll find answers to these and other questions right here on our website.