First-Time Home Buyer Questions - The Q&A Library
We have answered many first-time home buyer questions over the years. On this page, you can find some of the most frequently asked questions, organized by topic.
Note: Since 2006, we have answered more than 700 questions from home buyers. These articles are spread all over the website. So you may find it easier to use the search tool below. This will also give you access to a larger pool of Q&A sessions, since only the most frequently asked questions are listed on this page.
Home Buying Process
The questions listed below mostly deal with steps involved in the home-buying process. They're a good starting point for anyone who is not familiar with the process.
- How much house can I afford?
- How much of a down payment do I need?
- How much should I offer on a house?
Keep in mind there are more than 1,000 articles on this website, and most of them are related to the home buying process. If you have a specific question that is not listed above, try using the search tool at the top of this page.
The first-time home buyer questions below deal with mortgage loans. They cover a wide range of topics within that subject area, including the different types of mortgages, the application and approval process, and more.
- How do I apply for a mortgage?
- What does it mean to be pre-approved?
- Which is better, conventional or FHA loans?
You also need to decide if you want a fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate that never changes, or an adjustable (ARM) loan that fluctuates over time. You can learn about the pros and cons of these two options in this article.
You'll need a homeowners insurance policy in place before you can close on the home. Here are some of the common questions that buyers ask about this topic.
The good news is that homeowners insurance is relatively affordable, when compared to other types of insurance. You can get your entire house covered (along with your personal belongings) for around $600 / year, or $50 a month. The cost will vary based on your location, the value of your home, and the type of policy you choose.
What does credit have to do with home buying? A lot. If you have bad credit, you'll have a much harder time getting approved for a mortgage loan. The questions and answers below will help you understand how these two things are related.
- The Truth About Free Credit Reports (Special feature - start here)
- How do I improve my score if it's bad?
- Can I buy a home with bad credit?
Credit-score requirements vary, based on the type of home loan you choose. If you use a conventional mortgage, you'll probably need a FICO score of 620 or higher to qualify. You might be able to get an FHA loan with a score below this (that's the primary draw of the FHA program). There are plenty of things you can do to improve your score. See the links above for more information.
Buying Foreclosures & Short Sales
Buying a foreclosure home is often a good way to save money. These properties are generally priced below their current market value, in an effort to sell them quickly. But there's a lot that first-time home buyers should know about the process.
We add first-time home buyer questions to this page on a regular basis. So you might want to bookmark it for future reference. In addition to the questions listed on this page, you can find thousands of articles and resources on this site. To find information on a particular topic, just plug it into the search tool at the top of this page. We hope you find these first-time home buyer questions helpful.