My husband and I would like to buy our first home! What are the requirements? Help please

Asked by Monica, Cicero, IL Wed Jan 8, 2014

My husband and I are tired of renting and have decided to purchase our first home. But really confused in what the requirements are.. We both work he's been working at the same job for 2 years he has good credit. I also have credit but been working for a couple months.. Please help and thank you in advance!

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Trevor Curran, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Great Neck, NY
Mon Mar 24, 2014
First steps for First Time Buyers:

• Meet with a Local Mortgage Banker in person to get prequalified for mortgage financing. Thorough Prequalification includes a credit report AND review of tax returns, paystubs and bank statements.

• Line up a Home Inspector. A good home inspector will scare the heck out of you: that's what you pay him for! But you'll concentrate on the fundamentals of the property: roof free of leaks, plumbing, heating and electrical up to code and in good working order.

• Work with an experienced Local Realtor who works in your desired shopping area. A serious pro Realtor will refuse to show you homes until you are Prequalified for mortgage financing. Don't take offense! That Realtor doesn't want you to be disappointed and wants you to have a smooth experience as you shop for your new home.

Put together your Team of real estate professionals and shop 'til you drop!

Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140

*If you thought my answer was helpful, please give me a “Thumbs Up” or “Best Answer.” Thanks!
9 votes
Thanks a million!
Flag Tue Jul 14, 2015
Mary Laurent, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Chicago, IL
Thu Jan 9, 2014
Hello Monica, Congratulations on deciding to purchase your first home, there is a lot of information to process and hope that I can provide you with a start.

1. Credit score – minimum of 620 FICO is needed, 640 for FHA - the higher the score, the better rates you will get!
2. Loan to Value (LTV): 20% or more Downpayment (80%LTV) for a primary property gets you the best rates and NO PMI! If you put less than 20% downpayment on your purchase, you will have to pay mortgage insurance. You can put down as little as 5% or 3.5% for FHA mortgages.
3. Debt to Income (DTI): lenders will lend up to 45% of monthly debt to monthly gross income.

To get a free - no obligation eBook called "Demystifying the Mortgage Process" and "Appraisals Explained" please go to my secured website at
You will be able to download these free eBooks and look at different loan options and APR. By selecting the green application button, you can setup you login information and fill in the application and run your credit (you can keep a copy – it is free) plus get $150 off your application fees. Once you run this I can go over your options for a mortgage.

Thank you for your consideration in this process - my direct line is 773.516.6859, my cell phone is 312.403.4150 if you need to call me to setup an application for you over the phone.

With warm regards,

Mary Kay Laurent
Associate Vice President of Mortgage Lending

o: 773.516.6859 - m: 312.403.4150 - f: 773.328.1740
3940 North Ravenswood , Chicago, IL 60613
NMLS ID: 870598
The highest compliment I can receive are your referrals!
7 votes
Manuel Brown, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue Jan 14, 2014

Mary Kay Laurent with Guaranteed Rate answered your question. I can only state she is the best in the business and can assist you in your financing needs.
4 votes
jafridi, , Chicago, IL
Fri Feb 6, 2015
Hi Monica,

Congrats on the decision to buy a home! Seeing as your just getting started, you might want to check out an online tool that helps you choose and apply for the right mortgage for your needs, all from the comfort of your couch.

It's optimized for first-time homebuyers who might not know where to start and need a little guidance along the way. Here's how it works:

1. Answer a series of simple questions to determine your personal needs, preferences, and risk tolerance and MortgageHippo will recommend the best mortgages that fit your profile.

2. Shop and compare recommended loan offers from a network of lenders.

3. You'll have access to your very own advanced closing plan, where you can see the whole process at a glance, keep track of your application, and sign off on key documents -- all with the help of a personal mortgage expert.

You can sign up for FREE and see personalized loan results in 10 minutes. Check it out if you're comfortable using online services like TurboTax and

Full disclosure: I'm a product developer at MortgageHippo
3 votes
Tamara Willi…, Agent, Bozeman, MT
Wed Mar 4, 2015
Hey Monica,

Typically first time home buyer requirements consist of:
2 years of tax returns, recent pay stubs, generally have to be employed for at least 60 days,and have a credit score of 630+. Appraisals take about 45 days and make sure you have a payment that you’re comfortable with!! Hope this helps!

- Tamara Williams
2 votes
Micah Matson, Agent, Athens, AL
Tue Nov 25, 2014
The first step in the home buying process would be to contact your bank or a local mortgage broker. They will go over your financial situation with you and will help you figure out how much of a mortgage you could be approved for. Then contact a local agent to help show you properties in your approved range.
2 votes
Kim Carnagey, Agent, Cedar Park, TX
Fri Mar 20, 2015
Contact a loan officer as there are many different aspects that go into determining a home loan, the price range you should be looking at and how much down payment that will be needed for the type of loan your qualify for.
1 vote
Taylia Gibson, Agent, Urbanna, OH
Mon Mar 9, 2015
You would definitely benefit from contacting a Mortgage Loan Officer to seek the qualifications you would need for your area. They can guide you in the right direction.
1 vote
Kim Carnagey, Agent, Cedar Park, TX
Thu Jan 29, 2015
Contact a local lender or banker and they can let you know what the latest requirements are along wiht how much you qualified for and how much of a down payment you will need... then you will be all set to contact your favorite local REALTOR and start looking at homes! BEST WISHES!
1 vote
Matt Laricy, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Jan 9, 2014
Step #1- Call Lender
Step # 2- get approval letter so you know what you are approved for
Step #3- Get a Realtor. Its free to use their services.
Step #4- Buy a place
1 vote
Jorge Vega, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Jan 9, 2014
Hello Monica,

I'm glad you are tired of paying another persons retirement fund and want to buy on your own. The steps are much simpler than you think:

1) Find an agent that fits your needs
2) Find a lender that will finance (REALTOR can help with this)
3) Find your ideal home

There are obviously smaller steps that a good agent will discuss but this is the basic. Good luck!
1 vote
Judy Mitchell, Agent, Southport, CT
Fri Aug 7, 2015
You should check with a lender. They will help you with your credit questions. Where I practice real estate 620 credit score has been strong enough to get a mortgage. The other factor is your downpayment. You would need at least 3.5%. Your realtor and mortgage lender can help. Good luck. Owning a home is the fastest way to accumulate wealth!
0 votes
Donna_611, Home Buyer, Brooklyn, NY
Tue Jul 21, 2015
Why the coop I intend to buy is that every owner owns 1 share. It doesn't matter how large or small the unit you own.
0 votes
Donna_611, Home Buyer, Brooklyn, NY
Tue Jul 21, 2015
I found a coop and intend to buy. My lawyer found the every family in the building owns one share , doesn't matter how large or small the unit you own. Why?
0 votes
Noah Seidenb…, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sun Jun 21, 2015
You need a good Realtor who can explain all the steps you will encounter. Also get pre-qualified with a good lender. I am an Evanston IL Realtor I can answer some questions if you want to talk.
0 votes
Kash Vaidya,…, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Sat Jun 20, 2015
Here is a quick overview of the house buying process.…

1. But first thing is talk to a local lender (best best is approach your bank) and see how much house you can afford.

2. Get a pre-approval and start the exciting process to finding your house
0 votes
Paul, Both Buyer And Seller, 11968
Sun May 3, 2015
use to analyze all financial costs/benefits to homeownership, especially vs renting or investing. Easy + simple to use, but very comprehensive calculator. Log onto today.
0 votes
Pamelavanaken, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Sun Mar 29, 2015
My boyfriend and I are tired of renting an would like to buy our first home we've been together six years.
0 votes
Angel Hobby, Agent, St Simons Island, GA
Sun Mar 15, 2015
1-talk to a banker/mortgage professional to prequalify. As your buyer's agent, without a pre approval letter I would suggest we hold off on making offers for you until we can get this in hand.Its just not competitive without that if you are financing.
Lenders for most loans will want to see a minimum two year's taxes, W2s,(Commission & 1099s is more in-depth) and at least two months bank statements showing you've "seasoned" funds (been there not just deposited) for down payment, possible closing costs (unless we ask the seller to pay them), and even your escrows of taxes and insurance. Once you've met with a lender and they've pulled your combined credit (do not let multiple lenders pull your credit as it'll show as an inquiry on your records as if you have attempted to borrow money), you will be able to get a good faith estimate showing you what approximate funds you need to close on a property at the price point you are considering and have qualified for. This really avoids a BIG MISTAKE: looking beyond your means. If you do this you will breath easier in the process and a good realtor should know how to write an offer that protects your interest in the process. YOU SOUND LIKE IDEAL BUYERS.
2-as you look do not get emotionally attached to a property. Think of functionality for your family or another so that you will know what could bite you on that property if you do not fix it first before resale.
3-Speaking of fix it, get a home inspection!
4-Do not finance anything-furniture, cars, braces, etc until the transaction is closed. Do not change jobs either.
Most of all by being prepared, Have fun!
0 votes
Noah Seidenb…, Agent, Evanston, IL
Mon Mar 9, 2015
If you want to give me call I can walk you through all the steps. I am an Evanston Realtor.
I enjoy first time buyers.

Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker Evanston
Toll Free (800) 858-7917
Office (847) 316-8529
Fax (781) 609-0898

On the web:
Real Estate Specialist Chicago-land and Suburbs
Licensed Illinois real estate broker
0 votes
Thomas and M…, Agent, Eagle, ID
Sun Mar 1, 2015
The first step is to select a home mortgage lender and apply for a mortgage if you don't have cash to buy outright. That will tell you how much money you need to put down and how much home you can afford. Generally speaking, a credit score of at least 600 or higher for most mortgage programs.

After that, find a local real estate agent in your area that has the experience and knowledge of the local market to guide you to your home. it should not take too long if the agent is doing their job well. I would be happy to recommend one to you if you like.

You will generally need a money deposit to put down with your offer when you select your home. In our market, that's usually $500 to one percent of the offered price. It is applied to the down payment on your home when you close escrow.

Once the offer is accepted, then I recommend a home inspection to ensure there are no major defects with the home. This can cost from around $50 to $600 depending on the size of the home. If all goes well with the inspection, then you just have to follow your lender requirements to obtain the loan. The lender will have an appraiser go out to determine the value of the home to ensure it is worth what they are lending on. As long as the appraisal comes in at or above the offered price, the transaction generally will go through smoothly. Your local real estate agent can explain more about what to do if the appraisal comes in low.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
0 votes
Joslyn Tatum, Agent, Dallas, TX
Wed Feb 11, 2015
Find a trusted agent who can recommend you to a local loan officer in the area. They will sit down together I hope and talk to you all about the qualification requirments, areas, real estate advice ect
0 votes
Melissa Jenk…, Agent, Hillsborough, NJ
Wed Feb 11, 2015
My mortgage rep that I work with gave me this list to provide to my buyers to get them started on the paperwork before they contact him for preapproval:

- Past 2 years Complete Federal tax returns with all pages of each return
- Past 2 years W2s for both of you as well
- The last 4 weeks of paystub history for both of you
- 2 forms of ID copies for each of you (driver’s license, SS card, Birth Certificate, or passports)
- Last 2 months of statements for ANY AND ALL savings like banks, stocks, 401ks, Iras…need every page of both monthly statements with none missing please from either month

Good luck!
0 votes
Sandy Thomps…, , 60061
Thu Jan 29, 2015
You have gotten a ton of answers but the easiest answer is to call a few lenders. They all have different requirements and overlays. Every situation and lender is a little different. Find one you feel comfortable with and trust.

Once you find a lender you like the next step is getting a pre-approval letter. Once you have that you can start working with a realtor. Your pre-approval letter will let you and your realtor know what price range to look in based on areas and taxes for that area. Click on my photo for contact information if you would like to get started.

FYI - If one lender is not able to approve you, check around. Every lending institution has different overlays and guidelines
0 votes
Jan & Rod Ro…, Agent, Missoula, MT
Tue Jan 27, 2015
Thank you so much for your great question. Buying your first home is a thrilling adventure. You have made a wise decision to buy instead of rent. Your next step is to make an appointment with a lender. He will pre qualify you for a loan and advise you which type of loan is best for you and what price home will be most comfortable payment-wise for you. While you are talking to your lender, you may ask him to recommend 3 real estate agents for you. I suggest checking the agents out online...on Zillow of course! and see which agent is the right fit for you. Make the call, set an appointment with a pre approval letter in hand, and happy hunting! The American Dream of home ownership is alive and well!! Jump in!
0 votes
Atm Shamim, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Sun Jan 18, 2015
First You need to make a plan about your house which you want to made then you need to contact with a real estate company. If you want to learn more please visit our web Palm Beach Island Real Estate
0 votes
Micah Matson, Agent, Athens, AL
Wed Dec 3, 2014
Start by meeting with a local mortgage broker and they shall be able to go over your work history/credit score etc. and let you know how much of a loan you qualify for. After that you could call a local Realtor to help look at houses in your desired area that you qualify for. Best of luck!
0 votes
Latika Archu…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Tue Dec 2, 2014
I suggest taking a home buyer education class offer for free from your local HUD approved housing counseling agency. this is a great start toward home ownership!
0 votes
Josh Barnett, Agent, Chandler, OK
Tue Nov 25, 2014
Click on the Find an Agent link above and interview your local Realtor members. Hire the one you feel will be the best for you and then get started.
0 votes
Julie Montgo…, , 80238
Tue Nov 25, 2014
The first step is to contact a local mortgage lender to become pre-approved for a loan. A lot of buyers (and Realtors) put the cart before the horse, but think about it. You can't start shopping until you know exactly how much you can afford. Julie Montgomery, Denver, CO
0 votes
Julie Montgo…, , 80238
Tue Nov 25, 2014
The first step is to contact a local mortgage lender to become pre-approved for a loan. A lot of buyers (and Realtors) put the cart before the horse, but think about it. You can't start shopping until you know exactly how much you can afford. Julie Montgomery, Denver, CO
0 votes
Chris Boying…, Agent, Allen, TX
Mon Nov 24, 2014
the best thing to do is to contact a local lender
0 votes
M R 330.338.…, Agent, Stow, OH
Mon Nov 17, 2014
The first thing you will want to do is find a licensed REALTOR on Trulia with a large amount of positive reviews. Then you may want to get preapproved through a local bank. I hope this helps!
0 votes
Mack Alsaidi, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon Oct 27, 2014
Hi Monica,

Please contact me to learn more.
0 votes
Emil Sabado, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Fri Oct 24, 2014

You received a lot of good advice on buying a home. We would like to give you advice on choosing the right community. Please go to, we specialize in finding the right neighborhood that fits your needs. Once you find that perfect community, then you can go house hunting. Good luck.
0 votes
starr.gonzal…, Home Buyer, Austell, GA
Sun Sep 28, 2014
im a fist time buyer, i dont have good credit but i do have the money for a nice size down payment. What are my options? where di start?
0 votes
Richard Yost, Agent, Auburn, ME
Sun Sep 28, 2014
Has some great advice, also check your State and municipality for special financing programs for lower priced, historically important, or nieghborhood specific properties
0 votes
Martin Presl…, Home Buyer, Dover, DE
Fri Jul 11, 2014
Date Capital is a great service. Visit them at
0 votes
Bill J Delig…, Agent, Naperville, IL
Fri Jul 4, 2014
Step #1 is to get yourself preapproved by a lender.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Bryant Ander…, , Frisco, TX
Tue Apr 29, 2014

I have a number of mortgage products. One of our main requirements is having a 620+ middle credit score. If not, we have other products through our correspondent banking channels. Feel free to contact me or go online at , and complete a short application. We underwrite and issue full approvals, so you do not have to worry about last minute closing issues.

I look forward to your business!!

All the best,

Bryant Anderson, Mortgage Banker
The Federal Savings Bank
direct: 512-813-1801
cell: (682) 292-8839
fax: (512) 831-3241
apply online:
NMLS# 326585
0 votes
John Hemmesch, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Chicago, IL
Tue Apr 29, 2014
Hi Monica, there are some pretty good answers here with regards to what kinds of documentation you will need. Along with your credit scores, your total amount of debt will also be a factor, lenders all follow pretty similar debt to income ratios. Along with everything mentioned in this thread, every scenario is unique and your's will be no different. Income, down payment, loan amount, and credit will be very important factors. Have you been in the same line of work for a longer period than a few months?
I am in Chicago as well, and would be more than happy to discuss and work through all of these matters with you. Please feel free to contact me any time.
John Hemmesch
NMLS ID#1124472
MidWest Lending
0 votes
Randy Stoker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Fri Apr 25, 2014
You need to meet with a local mortgage advisor to review your credit and income levels. They will review your credit information and income levels to determine your housing budget. Once all the loan application work is done you can start house shopping!
0 votes
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Fri Apr 25, 2014
Meet with a local lender and be straight forward.

be prepared to provide the following :

1.) Last 2 years 1040s
2.) Last 2 pay stub, copies of working people in the household
3.) last 2 months bank statements
4.) last 2 months IRA / 401Ks / Pension Plan statements

Good luck

Web Reference:
0 votes
John Sefton, Agent, Long Beach, CA
Fri Apr 25, 2014
Generally, Lenders want to see two years minimum work history to include that income in qualifying. There are a few exceptions, however, such a recent graduate in certain fields, and other specific cases.

First step in home buying is to determine your approximate buying power. This is a combination of your down payment available plus the amount of mortgage you can qualify for. Basically, the mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, cannot exceed a certain portion of your gross income. This percentage depends upon the type of loan, credit ratings, and other factors. The percentages vary from about 28% to as high as 45% and more of your gross income.

There are mortgage calculator tools right here on Trulia that can help you determine an estimated mortgage payment according to price. You can also get estimates from your favorite bank and/or mortgage brokers. Be sure to include taxes and insurance, as well as HOA dues if any.

Once you determine the price range you can afford, the next step is to check prices in your area of first choice to see if there are properties available in that price range for the type of home you want. If not, you might need to vary your specifications, perhaps a smaller home or condominium for example.

If nothing fits in your first choice of areas, then you may need to investigate other nearby areas. Once you pinpoint the areas that might have the appropriate home available for you, you can start scanning the market on the internet, but do not make any final judgments from what you see on the net. It is a good starting point, but you need to visit the homes and the neighborhoods in person to get the true sense of the possibilities.

Visiting open houses, and going to neighborhood restaurants and other businesses are good strategies. When you see candidates that you may want to pursue, check any factors of importance to you, which might be school ratings, crime rates, nearby entertainment, etc.

If you follow this plan, by the time you get top selecting a Buyers' real estate Agent to represent you, you will already be knowledgeable about the area. Picking your Agent is very important. Using the Seller's Agent to represent you is asking for problems. There is an inherent conflict of interest on the part of the Seller's Agent, and there is no reason for not having your own Agent. This is one of there rare instances where you can have professional representation at no cost to you. Commissions are customarily paid by the Sellers.

Follow through with patience and caution. This is likely to be the largest and most important purchase you will be making. Do not let any Salespersons unduly influence you. You do not want to be sold a home, you want to buy a home.
0 votes
Debbie Bogatz, Agent, Avon, CT
Sat Mar 22, 2014
I would ask your real estate agent for the names of several mortgage brokers and/or banks with whom they do consistent business. Any one of these people can best position you for obtaining a mortgage; they will provide you with goals, such as paying off your credit cards, not cosigning any new student loans, etc. They will also tell you the type of mortgage for which you best qualify - with the upsides and downsides of each loan! Good luck to you!
0 votes
Dennis Evans, Agent, Clifton Park, NY
Sun Feb 23, 2014
First of all, Go to your local bank, credit union, where ever you do business and get pre qualified, find yourself a good realtor and you are on your way.. best of luck on your search
0 votes
JIM Michaels, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Feb 22, 2014
excellent lets get you started email me at
0 votes
Norma Bolyard, Home Buyer, Washington, DC
Sat Feb 22, 2014
It would be a good idea to contact a bank, mortgage broker or credit union to get pre-approved. They will be able to look at your entire financial situation and guide you in the correct direction. In the mean time you can look at a few of the income calculators etc to get an idea if you qualify. I have some on my web page at Feel free to check them out and give me a call if you need more help.
0 votes
Dennis Evans, Agent, Clifton Park, NY
Wed Jan 15, 2014
Talk to your local bank, credit union or where ever you do business.... get an idea of what price range, then contact a Local Realtor and they will take it from there
0 votes
Mirela Roman, Agent, Chicago, IL
Wed Jan 15, 2014
Talk to a Mortgage Broker to get pre-approved and then get a professional help from a Realtor .
0 votes
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