First Time Home Buyer FAQ


Being a first time home buyer is a monumental milestone in one’s life. Under all the excitement for the progress you have made to get to this point, there is a lot you need to know before jumping into buying because let’s face it; home buying is also a little scary.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you get started:

Where Should I Start?

A simple answer: get preapproved! This will give you a good idea of what price range you should be shopping in. You can typically do this over the phone. The lender asks you questions about your income, assets, debts, and what down payment you can provide then calculates the loan you’d likely qualify for.

At Century 21 Select, we have an excellent mortgage team that provides high level support for first time buyers.

Renting v. Buying; What’s Better for Me?

There are many facets that determine whether renting or buying is right for you at this time. How long are you planning on staying in the house? If your answer is a couple years, it might not be right to buy.

An easy calculation is to determine whether the interest you’d be paying on the loan each month is greater or less than your current rent. In today’s market, interest rates are especially low. You can determine your interest rate through the preapproval process.

How Do I Pick the Right Neighborhood?

Where are your weekly priorities? Pick an area that is close to work, school, family, your gym, any organizations you are associated with, hobbies/leisure, nightlife etc. Your home should be located at the heart of the places and people who are most important to you.

Do I Need a Realtor? How Much Do They Cost?

YES! You absolutely need an experienced professional who is representing you throughout the entire process. Realtors are there to advise and negotiate so you can get the best deal possible. They know the right questions to ask that first time home buyers will not. Realtors handle pretty much everything from preapproval to closing when you get the keys to your new home.

The best thing of all – hiring a Realtor is absolutely FREE. Here is a list of our Realtor duties to our clients.

How Long Does It Take?

Typically, buyers spend on average 20-60 days shopping. This can vary due to available inventory, availability of the buyer(s) and how soon you’d like to move. By setting a homebuyer timeline with your Realtor, they can help you stay on track for your anticipated move date.

Contract to close usually 30-45 days if using a loan. Because many first time home buyers are currently renting, it is important to give yourself enough time before the end of your lease for shopping, contracts and closing.

S-Crow? Escargot? Escrow? WHAT…

Escrow is a third party that handles the deal once you get into contract on a home. All deposits are held with this third party until the buyer and seller negotiate the contract and then close. Escrow is important because it protects all parties involved. Escrow makes sure that everyone gets what is agreed to at the same time and that it is recorded properly.

When Do I Finally Get the Keys?

After the close of escrow unless previously agreed to in writing. You need to wait until the county records the title for you to obtain the keys to the home. This usually happens a couple of days after signing.

Christy Grellas






By: Christy Grellas, Realtor