Preparing to buy your first home


Special to The Citizen

(Part One in a three part series)

Purchasing a home should be a dream come true, but poor planning can turn it into a nightmare. To make the process as stress-free as possible, it is important to follow the right steps, in order, as you begin your search.

Before you make your list of what you want in a home or what neighborhoods you would like to live in (don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon enough), you need to make sure your credit rating is where it should be. One of the factors reputable mortgage companies look at when deciding to offer someone a loan is a person’s credit. If you have not checked recently, you should review your credit report for errors right away. You can download it for free through

You also should look at your finances and estimate what you think you can afford to put down as a down payment and pay each month. The company I work for, Real Estate Mortgage Network, has multiple mortgage calculators available online at These calculators will provide you with a good working number for what you can afford and what you’ll save through home ownership.

The next step before actually meeting with a realtor should be to get a pre-qualification from a mortgage lender. A pre-qualification is a free estimate of what a mortgage lender may be willing to loan you. There is absolutely no commitment necessary from you to take the loan, but a pre-qualification does show realtors and home owners that you are serious about buying a home in the future.

One of the benefits of meeting with a mortgage lender is they can educate you on the different types of loans available. For example, a renovation mortgage allows a homebuyer to purchase a home and includes additional money for upgrades and repairs. These improvements can include such things as painting, roof repairs, kitchen upgrades and home additions. A knowledgeable mortgage broker can tell you more about the many options available to you.

In future issues the Citizen will publish Part Two and Part Three of this series which will involve your wish list, finding a realtor you trust and how to avoid unexpected situations.

About the author:
Tony Wilhelm is a Mortgage Loan Originator in the Peachtree City office of Real Estate Mortgage Network, Inc. To speak with Tony about a new mortgage or refinancing options, contact him at 770-301-0863 or