Guide to Buying My First Home

Dated: January 22 2024

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image of a young couple happily looking at a house with a 'For Sale' sign in front. The scene is set in a friendly neighborhood with trees

Guide to Buying My First Home

Buying your first home is an important journey, filled with hopes and dreams. At the same time, it can be kind of intimidating when you're not sure where to start. That's why I've created for you this step-by-step guide that will simplify this process and equip you with the basic insights that every first-time home buyer should know.

If you have any questions along the way, feel free to contact me anytime!

Preparing for Home Buying

Checking for Financial Preparedness

Before getting into home buying, one has to first determine their financial health. This will usually start with a conversation with a bank, credit union or mortgage broker. Mortgage professionals are specially equipped in determining what you can afford by helping you evaluate your savings at hand, your monthly income as well as the current debts that one holds.

Credit score

One of the major fundamentals in determining a mortgage option that is best for you is having a good credit score. Usually a score of 620 or better is the perfect starting point to qualifying for your mortgage. The higher your credit score, the better things like interest rate and APR will be. Which means, the better the score, the lower your mortgage costs will be.


One of the most crucial factors is setting your budget. Based on your pre-qualification with the lender of your choice, I can assist you to factor in all costs, such as property taxes, insurance, and maintenance, hence guaranteeing you that you make an informed decision.

Want to know the best people to talk to? Give me a shout! I have a list of first-time home buying specialist that can help you.

The Home Buying Process

Start Searching

Now that you have the financial planning done, you can start researching online about things that matter to you most in a home. As your real estate guru, I will create a customized list of homes for your matching criteria like – size, style, and location. Don't worry too much about some things. Many times, your criteria and things you want in a home will change during your search as you look at more and more homes that are available in the areas you choose to live. Also, always remember... Your first home will most likely not be your last home. So it's okay to give up some things now, so you're in a better position to afford them later.

Choosing the Right Location

The location of your home directly impacts the quality of your day-to-day living and the long-term value of a home. I will help you weigh in the pros and cons of such factors as schools, commute and neighborhood safety from my vast knowledge of Chapin, SC, and nearby areas.

Types of Homes: Pros & Cons

From single family homes to condos and town houses, I can take you through the pros and cons of each type of property, for you to decide which style best compliments your lifestyle and your future plans.

Ready to get your home search started? Contact Me Today!

Getting Financing

Knowing Mortgages

Your mortgage is likely to be the biggest loan you ever have to take. I can help you know about its different types – fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and others – so that you can have a better idea of what kind would suit your needs. However, as I mentioned before, it's always best to speak with a mortgage professional to get the best help.

Choose What's Best in a Mortgage

Selecting mortgage that fits in your financial situation is crucially important to your continued financial health. I work with the BEST first-time homebuyer financing specialists around. They can give you all the information you need regarding loan terms, interest rates and first time homebuyer programs anchoring you to be able to make the best decisions.

Making an Offer

The Negotiation

Making an offer on a home is sometimes like walking on a tightrope, balancing your needs as a buyer on one side and satisfying the needs of the seller on the other. I can help you find the balance between the two so you can walk through this process no problem with my expert negotiation skills. Together, we will win you your first home!

Ready to find your first home? Contact Me Today!

Home Inspection and Appraisal

Importance of "Due Diligence"

Congrats! We got a contract to buy your first home!.... Now what?
Now is the time to make sure your dream home is not actually a nightmare. You can do this by hiring professional inspectors to check out your potential new home for any defects, big or small. Although these are an additional expense in the home buying journey, NEVER waive home inspections. In South Carolina, typical home inspections can include:

  1. General Home Inspection
  2. HVAC Inspection
  3. Termite Inspection
  4. Roof Inspection (if needed)
  5. Foundation Inspection (if needed)

As your agent, I make sure that your best interest is followed by giving attention even to the tiniest detail to help protect you as much as possible from unexpected large expenses during your ownership.

Closing the Deal

Knowing about the Closing Costs

Closing costs can add up, so factor them into your budget. These can include fees for loan processing, title insurance, attorney's fees and more. I always recommend budgeting for 2.5 - 3% of the purchase price of your new home for closing costs. This is usually more than it actually costs, but it's always better to be over-prepared in case there are any unexpected expenses. Your lender and closing attorney can help you know exactly what these costs will be during the transaction, so that you can budget accordingly.

Moving In

Planning your Move

The day of moving in is an exciting one, but some planning should be done. I can share a few tips for you and provide you with a few resources that will help you move in easily and reduce the stress.

I eat, sleep and breate real estate every day. I have the tools to make sure your first-time homebuying experience is an enjoyable one. Take advantage of my expertise, call or text me anytime!

Home Ownership for a Lifetime

Maintenance and Upkeep

No matter how new or old your first home is, regular care and maintenance matters. I can provide ongoing maintenance support and advice to you in order safeguard your home and continue to live in comfort.

Future Financial Planning

Homeownership is a long-term financial commitment, but one of the best investments you can make for you and your family. I can help you plan for the future, considering things like refinancing, home equity, and potential market changes.


Congratulations! You're all set and ready to start your journey as a first time home buyer. Remember, with Joshua Minico at Re/Max at the Lake, you're in the best hands for buying your first home. Ready to get your first home search started? Contact Me Today!


What is the first thing to do when buying a house?

Always speak with a Mortgage Professional and a Real Estate Expert to arm yourself with the best tools and representation when buying your first home.

How important is location in choosing a home?

Too important, indeed – it affects your quality of life during your ownership and value of your investment in the future – let me help you find that perfect spot.

Should I get a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage?

Well, it really depends on your situation. It's always a good idea to advise with a mortgage professional and your real estate agent to help you choose what scenario works best for you.

Are there any common mistakes that people make when purchasing a home for the first time?

The most common mistakes I have seen are forgetting to budget for all the expenses associated with buying a home and skipping inspections either for cost or time — That's why I'm here! I will make sure you don't get tripped up where others fall.

How can I make sure I get a good mortgage?

The biggest things that help are: Improving your credit score, save for a larger down payment, and let me help you shop around for the best rates.

As a First-Time Home Buyer, it's okay to not know everything. You've never done this before! That's why it's essentiall to surround yourself with the best real estate buying team. My team at Re/max at the Lake and the mortgage professionals I work with offer the best first-time home buying services with the knowledge and expertise you can trust.

Contact me, Joshua Minico, today and let's take the first step together in your new home buying journey.

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