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First-Time Home Buyers

Trust Kathleen Kerins to answer all of your questions 


First-Time Home Buyer Step-by-Step Guide 


Start gathering a down payment

Buying a new home (particularly for the first time) requires a mortgage, where a lender fronts you the money and you pay it back over time.

So how much do you need?

The minimum down payment on a mortgage is 3% of the home's price for a conventual loan and 0% for military (VA loans).


Check your credit score

  • This three-digit number is a numerical summary of your credit report, a detailed document outlining how well you've paid off past debts like for credit cards and college student loans.

  • A lender will check your score and report in order to estimate the odds that you will deliver your monthly payment, too.

Credit Score Breakdown 


Contact me to get pre-approved for a mortgage

I will walk you through every step of the process starting with the preapproval using my mortgage coach software. Here I can show you the cost difference of renting vs. buying and your expected down payment amount. This is a very hands-on process and I will be here to answer all of your questions along the way. 

Step 1:  Schedule a brief phone conversation to discuss your home buying goals.

Step 2.  Complete the Loan Application

Step 3:  Upload supporting loan documentation to a secure file link sent by Kathleen's team.

Step 4:  Review the personalized Mortgage Analysis sent by Kathleen with multiple options and details to compare and contrast.

Step 5:  Ready to shop!


Find a real estate agent

Most first-timers will want a great real estate agent specifically a buyer's agent, who will help them find the right houses, negotiate a great real estate deal, and explain all of the nuances of home buying along the way. The best part? The agent's services are free to first-time home buyers (because the seller pays the sales commission).

Alex Ferguson

★★★★★ June 2020

Kathleen was fantastic to work with! She was incredibly responsive, quick, thorough, and patient. My girlfriend and I purchased our first home, and Kathleen did an excellent job of walking us through the process and getting us the best mortgage possible. We had been putting off getting pre-approved for a mortgage, but when we stumbled upon our dream home, we knew we'd have to act fast. Thanks to Kathleen's responsiveness and quick work we were pre-approved on the same day we reached out to her, and we submitted a winning offer on our dream home the very next day. Not to mention we got a great mortgage with an incredibly low interest rate. We highly recommend working with Kathleen especially if you're a first time homebuyer.

Kizito Byenkya

★★★★★ September 2020

Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness

Kathleen is amazing to work with! She went above and beyond in really helping us get a competitive mortgage and provided great guidance for us throughout the process as first-time home-buyers. Her kindness and attentiveness let us know we were in good hands, and she truly found us the best deal - working hard to find us savings where possible. It was a blessing to be able to work with Kathleen, and we highly recommend her as a trustworthy broker.

Ryan Haskins

★★★★★ April 2020

My wife and I recently purchased our first home with the help of Kathleen at Kerins Associates. As first time home buyers we didn’t know much about the process and Kathleen made the entire process easy and was able to answer our extensive list of questions. Kathleen provided us with a very helpful tool to estimate our monthly payments and closing costs for the various houses we were viewing during our home search which really helped us make our home purchase decision. She also made sure we got the best available rate and made sure we understood everything about the closing process. Working with Kathleen was fantastic and we would highly recommend her to anyone.


Marlene Noubet

★★★★★ March 2020

I found Kathleen Kerins online by doing a google search on mortgage brokers, and I truly believe it was all God’s work. After a few conversations with her over the phone, I knew I could trust her with helping me getting our first house. She went above and beyond to help us. The level of care and the dedication she put into helping us every step of the way was on another level. We had a very inexperienced real estate agent, and Kathleen stepped in and did part of the real estate agent’s job so that we could go to closing. She made this first time home buying experience smooth for my mom and I. I will never be able to repay her fantastic guidance. Please do yourself a favor and seek her help because she is extraordinary at what she does. You cannot go wrong with Kathleen!


Go shop for a home!

Things You Should Never Say When Buying a Home

1. 'This is my dream house' 

You will lose all negotiation power with the seller or their agents 

2. 'That couch is hideous'

If the seller or their agent hears you bad-mouthing the furniture or overall décor of the house they might go with another buyer.

3. 'You'll never get that price' 

Leave it to your agent and trust them to do their job, you will run the risk of looking like an amateur buyer.


Make an offer

If you are not working with a Realtor, keep in mind that your purchase offer or contract must conform to state and local laws. State laws vary, and certain provisions may be required in your area.


Get a home inspection

A home inspection is where you hire a home inspector to check out the house from top to bottom to determine if there are any problems with it that might make you think twice about moving forward. Think; termites, faulty foundation, mold, asbestos, etc. Sure, a lot can go wrong, but rest assured that most problems are fixable.


Get a home appraisal

Even if you got pre-approved for your home loan, your lender will want to conduct a home appraisal. This is where the lender checks out the house to make sure it's a good investment. It's similar to a home inspection, but for your lender.


Head to closing

  • Also known as settlement or escrow, brings together a variety of parties who are part of the real estate transaction, including the buyer, seller, mortgage representative, and others.

  • Closing is the day you officially get the keys to your new home—and pay all the various parties involved. That will include your down payment for your loan, plus closing costs, the extra fees you pay to process your loan.

  • Closing costs can be sizable, averaging anywhere from 3% to 5% of the home price.


Move in!

Done with closing? Got your loan? Congratulations, you've officially graduated from a home buyer to a homeowner!