The First-Time Home Buyer Questions

It’s normal to feel a bit lost when you decide to buy a house for the first time. There are many factors to consider, including choosing a real estate agent, financing, budget, and all the details and deal-breakers you’re looking for in your first home. You may also be worried about being a first-time homebuyer in this real estate market, but worry no more.

As a first-time home buyer, questions will arise. But you’re not alone! Zillow’s 2023 Consumer Housing Trends Report discovered that 50% of all home buyers are first-time buyers—up from 45% in 2022!

We’ve gathered a list of first-time home buyer questions to assist you in making a choice that benefits you for many years to come. Review this guide of questions to ask when buying a house for the first time, and even share it with your loved ones and friends who may also have first-time home buyer questions.

What makes someone a first-time home buyer?

What makes someone a first-time home buyer?

A standard definition of a first-time home buyer is someone who has not owned a home in the past 3 years. First-time home buyer FAQs typically include “How will I afford a down payment?” and “Will my income afford me the home I want?”. To assist first-time home buyers, some programs and special loans are available that make homeownership more accessible.

What is best for first-time homebuyers?

Our best tip for first-time homebuyers is to work with a trustworthy and reputable sales agent. Experienced real estate professionals will be able to handle all of your first-time home buyer questions while helping you find the perfect home for you on your terms.

Another first-time homebuyer tip we offer offer clients is to prepare for the purchase by knowing the questions to ask when buying a house for the first time. Since you’re here, you’re well on your way to a successful first-time home purchase!

What type of home do I want?


Couple looking over contract with realtor

Depending on your budget, lifestyle, plans to start a family, or even moving in a few years, one of the most critical first-time home buyer questions is what type of home is best for you? A  brand-new construction home will have a higher price tag than a home that needs to be renovated, but there are associated costs with renovations. Consider what is easiest and the most feasible before you start your search. As you begin to tour new homes, there are even more questions to ask to make sure the home is right for you. Be sure to do your due diligence when deciding if the home is right for you!

Where do I want to live?

The city life brings charm and convenience, and the suburbs can provide room to grow and more of a community feel. How far do you want to commute? Which neighborhoods or areas have the types of homes that you love? These are common first-time home buyer FAQs about your new neighborhood that help you find the right location for your new home.

What type of loan should I get?

One of the most common first-time home buyer FAQs is about financing. After deciding on home type and location, you can discuss the best home loan with your lender. They will review your assets, income, and credit score to guide you to a mortgage loan that will get you into your first home.

How much do I need for the down payment?

You want to have close to 20% of the home’s price to cover the down payment at the time of purchase. If you want to save and put more down, that can help you have equity early on and have fewer interest fees. First-time home buyers may be able to unlock special programs to reduce their down payment if needed.

What are closing fees?

There will be fees that you need to prepare for and know about to seal the deal at the closing table. There will be home inspection costs, taxes on the home for possibly a few months, an application fee from the lender, and an appraisal fee. The closing fees will be around 2% to 5%. This is a very important first-time home buyer question to get answered, as the money needed has to be considered when budgeting for the home purchase.

How much will property taxes cost me?

This is one of the important questions to ask when buying a house, whether it’s your first or fifth house. Be sure to do the research on estimated taxes for the home. This can sometimes be a shocker for first-time home buyers, so look into any fees or expenses as much as possible. Your real estate agent can answer first-time home buyer questions pertaining to property taxes.

What is the breakdown of my mortgage payment?

A very important first-time home buyer question will clarify the mortgage payment because the buyer is responsible for paying that amount each month. The mortgage payment consists of the principal loan, mortgage interest rate, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. If your community has a homeowner’s association, fees will be included for that. A Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) may also be included in the monthly payment. Mortgage questions are essential questions to ask when buying a house.

How much will utilities cost me?

Other important monthly payment questions to ask when buying a house involve monthly utilities. You can ask the seller about how much they spent on utilities if you are purchasing a home that is not newly built. That will enable you to get a ballpark figure and develop a budget draft before you move. You can also research homes with the same square footage as yours to figure out what you can expect to spend. Swimming pools and hot tubs are nice features, but they will also increase your utility expenses. A larger home will cost more to heat and cool as well.

What questions should a home buyer ask a seller?

Once you’ve found your dream home, an experienced real estate agent should have the answers to all of your first-time home buyer questions. Popular questions to ask the seller’s agent when buying a house for the first time include:

  • What additional costs are associated with this home purchase? For example, are there HOA fees? What utilities are needed at the property, and what are the approximate costs monthly?
  • When were the systems (electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, and HVAC) last updated or replaced?
  • Does this home come with an included home warranty?

What questions should I ask a seller at closing?

When you reach closing day, there are still some outstanding home buyer questions you may have for the sellers. You may or may not meet face-to-face with the sellers on closing day, but if you do, you’ll have the opportunity to ask more personal questions about the home or neighborhood. Though you may not have any questions at all, when you’re buying a resale home, you may have specific questions about the neighborhood, utilities, or interior details. Questions you may ask a seller at closing include:

  • Who has serviced the home in the past? (Electricians, remodelers, plumbers, etc.)
  • Who have utilities been provided by? (Natural gas, electricity, water, trash, etc.)
  • What is the garage door code?
  • What colors have been used in the home? (For paint, flooring, etc.)
  • How do (specific devices) work? (With the rise in smart homes, mobile apps may be needed to run equipment or devices.)

Advice for First-Time Home Buyers

If we could give just two pieces of advice to someone wanting to buy a house, whether a first-time home buyer or not, they would be to

  1. Evaluate and prioritize what you want from your home. For example, do you want to live in the city or the suburbs, in a single-family home or a townhome, with amenities or without? 
  2. Understand the costs involved in the purchase. It’s imperative (for first-time home buyers especially) to understand the amount you’ll owe immediately upon going under contract and at closing, as well as your mortgage payment and any other monthly payments.

If you’re collecting first-time home buyer questions as you begin your home search, we’re so excited to help you on this journey! Even if you’re buying your tenth home, saving this list of questions to ask when buying a house will still allow your purchase process.