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First Time Home Buying Advice From a Young Couple

Sep 5, 2019    |    Tropical Financial Credit Union

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There’s a lot that comes with getting into a first mortgage. As much as you might want to be in your own home, getting there can take a while, especially if you’re looking for something very specific and have a limited budget. The good news is that it’s possible when done right.

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Q: What was the process like and what advice would you give to others looking?

Jackie: It was very annoying. He was getting very restless because we were living with my parents and were expecting our second child so it was definitely time for our own space, but I would tell people it was worth it to find the right home. We are very comfortable here and I would almost hate to imagine what it would be like to be in something if we just didn’t take the time to really look at our finances and just buy something because it’s what we could afford. If you have the ability to wait, do it and take your time especially since you have to live there day in and day out. 

Q: What were you looking for in a home? 

Sean: She was looking for everything. At one point I was getting so many Zillow and Realtor.com screenshots throughout the day that I told her that was enough. I think we agreed on the basics though, no sharing rooms for the

young urban couple feeding baby pizza in new house

kids, enough space, a great kitchen and something with a pool because this is Florida.

Q: What was the process like and what advice would you give to first time home buyers? 

Sean & Jackie: The process was very long, but it wasn’t hard just kind of tiring. We definitely have 3 major tips for those looking to get into their first home, especially if they have a small family like us. 

Q: How long were you looking for a home?

Jackie: Our whole home buying process took us a while. My husband (Sean), really wanted to take over the reins and I just wanted to pick out anything that worked, but it really wasn’t that easy. He would come back to me and tell me “we can’t do that house” or “we need to clean up our credit” it really took us a good year to find and get into the “one.”

Tip #1 Check your credit before applying for a mortgage

We thought our credit was good going into this, but we quickly learned that it was not. We sat down with someone who explained the few things we could clean up that would help us to be approved for the amount of house we were looking for.

Some tips they told us on how to clean up our credit included things like, paying off small store cards that had balances under $1,000 dollars along with unpaid medical bills (this is the amount we could swing at the time.) These were the quick little things that brought down our debt to income ratio, so that it wasn’t so high in order for us to get approved for a larger loan.

Tip #2 Set a budget before hitting Zillow and know what you want

My wife loves to look at Zillow and send over her favorite homes, but we I knew that a lot of those homes we couldn’t afford. I got to the point where I told her look, I’m going to need you to only look up houses to a certain amount and that’s it.

Tip #3 Compare mortgage options and get pre-approved even if it’s more than once

I knew going into this from my friends and family that have bought houses that you can get different terms for your mortgage, but I didn’t realize how many options for terms you had until we sat down to do financing. When we originally went to get pre-approved, it wasn’t for the amount we wanted even when we played with the terms.

We decided to wait a while, about 6 months, which wasn’t fun because we were living at my wife’s parents house, but when we finally went to get pre-approved for a second time because we cleaned up our credit it worked out better and we were approved for more than we thought we would have been.

Jackie and Sean’s journey was a long one, but eventually paid off in the end. Now that they’ve got their finances in order, they’re talking paint colors and DIY projects.

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