3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me as a First Time Home Buyer

Wondering if it may be time to buy your first home? Take a look at this before you get started.

As I approach my four year “homeaversary” I decided to take a moment to reflect on all that I had on my mind as my husband and I prepared to make the biggest purchase of our lives. Here are some of the things I wish I had known sooner that I hope will help you, or someone you, know on their journey toward home ownership.

You Don’t Pay The Agent’s Commission as the Buyer

So many first time buyers wonder, “do you have to pay a real estate agent if you are buying a home?” For some, the thought of having to shell out extra cash when they are already doing all they can to save for their down payment is enough to make them walk away from the entire process before they even get going. Many are surprised to find out that the answer is actually no. A home buyer does not pay their agent, rather the agent earns their commission from the seller side of the transaction.*

Need help finding an agent? Take a look here.

Focus on Your Monthly Mortgage Payment, Not the Entire Thing

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is generally the first step you should take as a first time buyer. A common mistake that people often make is focusing on the total price of the home they can afford instead of the monthly payment they will be making. You may get approved for a $350,000 home, but this may not necessarily be what you can truly afford. Think of the amount your advisor suggests you can afford as a range. There is a high end and a low end and it is your job, not the mortgage advisor’s, to figure out what you are comfortable paying each month. It is crucial that you work with your advisor to understand how your down payment amount, credit, and the current mortgage rate affect your monthly payment.

Make the Jump!

To steal a line from Nike®…Just Do It™! From agonizing over the down payment to finding the “perfect” home there are a ton of moments in the first time buying process that are going to make you feel nervous. Know that it is natural and that similar to having a baby, there is never really a 100% perfect time. You are always going to wish you had more money in the bank, hope that the home had a backyard that was just a little bigger, or that you were just a little more sure what direction your life will be taking in the next 5-10 years. My advice: if you feel comfortable with the payment, love the location and “bones” of the house and will feel proud to make this house a home, then take the leap and don’t look back. That’s what we did almost four years ago and it was one of the best decisions we ever made.

*As with anything exceptions may apply. One example where this may change is a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). To be certain of what the payment structure will be, speak with your agent as soon you begin working to discuss payment/commission.

Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.

Subscribe to Blue Matter and get the latest updates


  1. Anna Marie Dalbey
    March 15, 2017

    Great article! I hope you dont mind as i am putting on a First Time Homebuyer Class next month and would like to include some of your information. I a new branch manager for the CB lake Chelan properties-Brewster office, so with us being new to the area i thought to really crank it up and do things to get our name out…Ive been doing this along time, but only up in washington under a year…Thanks again

    • Lindsay Listanski
      March 16, 2017

      Feel free to share!

  2. Tammy Crowden
    March 19, 2017


    May I use this on my blog?

    • Lindsay Listanski
      March 20, 2017

      We are fine with you using excerpts but ask that you please provide a link back.

  3. Jeremy Lemm
    November 13, 2017

    I would like to share this article and others to my FB business page. How can I do that?

  4. Keith Gumbinger
    November 15, 2017

    Your point about focusing on the monthly mortgage payment can’t be overstated. A monthly mortgage payment you are comfortable with should make your earliest months and years of homeownership much less stressful than if your budget is pushed to the limit. Even then, for most borrowers, stepping up from renting to owning feels financially tight for a while, with move-in costs, furnishing expenses and often higher costs for everything from water to utilities all coming at the same time. Better that you should choose a mortgage payment somewhat less than the absolute maximum you can qualify for and leave yourself some financial breathing room!


Leave a Reply

Share on Facebook Share on Twiiter Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Telegram Share on Email