Advice for First-Time Home Buyers

Dated: 09/30/2019

Views: 210

Advice for First-Time Home Buyers 

Eliminating the surprises so that you can enjoy the process

By Dorine Wollangk, Florida Realtor® with LoKation Real Estate

In my experience with helping first-time home buyers, I’ve noticed several small details that buyers aren’t aware of, or don’t learn about until it’s too late. I could write a lot on this subject, but for now I just wanted to share with you some of my top insights that might help make your home-buying process smoother and more issue-free for the future. Read on for my top pieces of insight and advice for those buying their first home. 

Hold off on any big purchases or credit changes before closing

I’ve seen it several times - a buyer will have an offer out on a house, buy a new car or open a new line of credit, and then their mortgage loan application is denied. An important piece of advice to first-time home buyers is this - before you close on a house, you don’t want to do anything that changes your debt-to-income ratio. A big purchase like a car, or any large posts to your current credit card or opening a new credit card, is going to change this ratio and potentially affect your loan eligibility. If you need a mortgage loan, hold off on any big purchases until the sale closes!

Beware of buyers’ expenses

Many of my first-time home buyers were surprised to learn of the expenses they were responsible for. It’s important to make sure you understand the full costs of homeownership both before and after you make the commitment to buy. highlights many of the pre-sale expenses, like home survey fees and title insurance, often overlooked by buyers. Learn the costs, and you won’t be hit with any surprises.

Apply for the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program

Some mortgage lenders offer the MCC program. MCC, or the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program, is a program available to first-time home buyers that can be used in conjunction with a mortgage loan. It works to reduce the amount of federal income tax paid towards a house, which assists the buyer with the house payments. Additionally, the MCC can qualify the buyer to apply 10-50% of their mortgage interest paid as a tax credit each year for the full term of the loan. Obviously, this program has the potential to save first-time home buyers a lot of money in the long-run, but not all lenders offer it. Start by researching which of your local lenders offer this program, or if the realtor you are working with has an in-house lender with this program (like I do!) and what the lender’s requirements are. Some lenders that offer this program also have other helpful resources, like the ‘credit score boost’ offered by America’s Mortgage Professionals, which is the in-house lender I work with that offers the MCC program.

When applying for a condo…

If you’re applying to buy a condo for the first time, you may not be inherently privy to some of the legal implications. One of the biggest implications that condo-seekers often aren’t aware of ahead of time is the 30-day window that condo associations are legally able to use to issue you a formal approval or denial. If the process seems to be going quickly otherwise, just keep in mind that you may have to wait the full 30 days before being able to move forward. 

Work with a Trusted Realtor®

Arming yourself with this knowledge will allow you to focus on the parts of the home buying process that really matter to you, and having a trusted licensed Realtor by your side can also serve as a tremendous resource. (Not to be confused with a licensed Real Estate Agent. Not sure of the difference? See my note below.) As a Realtor who has worked with hundreds of first-time home buyers, I understand the unique challenges and concerns that you may have, and I make sure my clients are taken care of from start to finish. Save yourself a lot of time and frustration by finding a trusted Realtor to help guide you in your journey to your new home.


Although both must be licensed to sell real estate, the main difference between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR® is that the latter is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and has therefore subscribed to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which includes 17 articles. An agent must simply be licensed.


With over 30 years’ experience in Real Estate, and having helped thousands of in and out-of-state clients find their next home, Dorine’s dedication to and deep knowledge of the Real Estate market in Broward, South Palm Beach, and Miami Dade counties has placed her as a top agent, and has led many of her clients to return for their future and recurring property needs. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, seller, renter, or investor, Dorine will be there for you until the keys are in your hands.


Florida Property Locations Served: Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Wilton Manors, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Parkland, and Deerfield Beach.

Stay up-to-date with local Florida property listings by connecting with Dorine on Facebook or following her on Instagram. On the go? Download the free LoKation Real Estate mobile app today to view Dorine’s listings and photos easily and conveniently.

Blog author image

Dorine Wollangk

Finding your next property, especially from out-of-state, can be challenging. With over 30 years’ experience in Real Estate, I am passionate about helping my clients find the property they desire ....

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