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10 Tips for Smart Home Buying

Sponsored Partner Content by Embrace Home Loans

Family buying a house

Owning a home is part of the American dream. Whether you’re looking to purchase your first house, or finally ready to move into your dream home, here are some smart tips that can help you spend your hard-earned money wisely and make the right investment for you and your family’s future.

1. Save for a down payment.

Nearly all mortgage lenders require some amount of cash as a down payment. The amount you've set aside will determine the kind of mortgage you qualify for and how much you can borrow.

2. Figure out how much you can afford.

Many banks require that your monthly costs can't exceed a percentage of your income. And if you have recurring debts, the monthly payments on existing debt plus your mortgage payment can’t go over a certain threshold.

3. Shop around for mortgage lenders.

Two words: shop around. Don’t just go with the broker your parents or a friend used. You’re going to have your mortgage for the next 30 years, so it's really worth prioritizing.

4. Make the first offer.

When affordable houses are scarce, it’s important to stay on top of new listings. Create alerts on property listing sites, or find a proactive realtor who’ll get you in the door as soon as a new property pops up.

5. Buy during off-peak seasons.

During winter months and the holidays, it becomes more of a buyer’s market. Sellers are much more willing to negotiate, and you’ll avoiding the bidding wars of the spring market.

6. Put a halt on big spending.

Hide your credit cards! Lots of spending can ding your credit scores. Cutting back on spending will also help you afford closing and moving costs, and your down payment.

7. Get pre-approved for your home loan.

Pre-qualified and pre-approved are NOT the same thing. “Pre-qualified” can amount to nothing. But pre-approved means a lender lets you know exactly how much they’ll lend you.

8. Check out the neighborhood.

Drive by different times of day to see what the neighborhood is like. Try your regular commute from the house to see if it works for you – and find out how far it is to grocery stores, shopping, and other frequented spots.

9. Budget for non-mortgage costs.

Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but you need to be aware of other expenses like property taxes, utilities, and homeowner association dues, plus repairs and maintenance.

10. Buy the home you’ll need in a few years.

A one-bedroom house might be great if you’re single. But it’s smarter to buy the home you’ll need when love and maybe little ones enter your life down the road.


Buying your first home is one of the most exciting times in life. As you make this big commitment, make sure you have all the information you need to make it as smooth as possible – and save yourself as much money as you can.


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