First-Time Home Buyer Qualification Checklist

Owning a house has numerous advantages over renting, including the opportunity to build up equity and an chance to make customized alterations and improvements to your quarters. However, the complex home-buying procedure can make it hard for first-time house buyers to be aware of when it’s the correct time to take the plunge into home ownership; a few simple guidelines can help you decide if now is the ideal time for you.


One of the most essential qualifications to get a first-time house buyer is a steady income. A buyer’s income (or the combined earnings of a couple, if both are purchasing the house jointly) will determine the quantity of the mortgage creditors offer, which then sets the budget that is realistic for you. New home buyers should also have a reasonable degree of job protection. This means not just a fantastic likelihood of keeping a current position, but also a set of skills and experience which may help the buyer get a new job quickly in case of a layoff.


Savings are required as a deposit for first-time house buyers. Many homes need a deposit at or close 20 percent of the house’s selling price, which can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollarson a modest home. Some programs, such as loans through the Federal Housing Authority, or FHA, require lower monthly payments. However, home buyers want cash on hand to make even a reduced down payment and to pay closing costs, including title fees and the cost of an inspection.


While a few home buyers use property as an investment, renting it out or owning it for just a short time period before selling it again, first-time house buyers ought to be committed to occupying a home for several years. Besides needing ample time to make improvements and build equity before continuing to a better house, this also gives buyers a opportunity to save for a down payment and to get used to the duties of owning a house and seeing to its upkeep.

Credit History

A first-time house buyer ought to have a good credit history. While it does not take perfect credit to receive a decent mortgage, buyers who have greater credit scores receive mortgages with lower interest rates and might be exempt from certain fees during the mortgage procedure. First-time property buyers must be aware of their credit histories and expect mortgage rates to reflect them.


First-time property buyers must also become acquainted with all of the federal, state and local assistance programs out there. These programs might include access to special low-interest rate mortgages, tax breaks on mortgage interest or even a tax credit just for making the buy. These programs each include their own requirements, but save buyers a whole lot of money.

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The Expense of Buying a Home

A”For Sale” sign rests merrily in the front yard of the perfect, two-story Victorian house on the corner, the one you’ve had your eyes on for ages. You can imagine living there and watching your children play in the spacious yard that is fenced. Now you screech to a halt, catch a colorful flier, and start to dial the real estate broker’s amount on your cell phone. However before you do, there. The cost of purchasing a house is a whole lot greater than the asking price.

Asking Price vs. Selling Price

The cost listed on the house’s flier or real estate broker’s site is its asking price, the amount the sellers hope to lure a buyer into paying for their property. The asking price might be based on a number of variables, including the selling prices of other comparable houses in the area, the home’s assessed value, or just the seller’s individual belief in the worth of the property. This amount might be inflated and overestimate the home’s true market value, or it may be undervalued in an attempt to quickly sell the property. The sale price is the price the buyer pays for a property after all discussions are complete. It might be just like the asking price, or it might be lower. The aforementioned home’s asking price is $225,000. You create an offer for $215,000, and the seller accepts your bid. 215,000 is the home price.

Down Payment

Another aspect to take into account before calling the actual estate agent is how much money you’ve saved to cover your down payment. The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly interest rate is going to be on your mortgage payment. According to MSN money, a down payment is 20 percent of the selling price of the home. On a $215,000 house, a 20 percent down payment will be $43,000. Lenders may be willing to offer you a mortgage with a far lower down payment, but your monthly payment will probably likely be significantly greater. So far, your dream house has drained your bank accounts of $43,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

Closing Prices

The entire cost of purchasing a house is greater than the sale price, however. The home-buying process includes an add-on known as closing costs. Closing costs cover various expenses, such as government filing charges, property broker fees or commissions, loan fees, title and closing fees, prepaids the lender needs to be paid beforehand (flood insurance, hazard insurance premiums, mortgage insurance premiums, etc.), and escrows, impounds, and/or reservations. Survey fees and inspection fees might also be included in the final costs. As stated by the Money Alert site, closing costs average 2 to 4% of the house’s selling price. Therefore, if you stumble upon a spectacular mortgage lender that requires zero down payment, then the final costs in your $215,000 house are $8,600. Should you put 20 percent down, you can lower your house mortgage amount to $172,000 and your final costs will probably be $6,880. Some mortgage lenders will allow this to roll into the mortgage, while others will need it be paid out of pocket. If you paid a traditional down payment, you are currently out $49,880 ($43,000+$6,880). This is before monthly obligations.

Monthly Payments

The monthly payment is what most people compute when considering whether they can afford to purchase a house. As you’ve seen, it isn’t the only element. But, it is crucial. The rate of interest you obtain largely affects your monthly payment. According to, the monthly payment on a $172,000 house loan (after down payment) at a 6.5 percent interest rate is $1,337.99. If your interest rate is 7.5 percent, your monthly mortgage payment will probably be $1,453.88. If you get a loan at 5.5 percent, you’ll pay $1,227.43. Let’s say that you acquire a 6.5 percent interest rate and pay $1,337.99 monthly. Within a 12-month period, this amounts to $16,055.88. According to, you’ll pay a total of $481,676.52 over the 30-year lifetime of the mortgage. Of that, $229,051.52 will go toward interest . You’ll have paid more than your home’s selling price in interest.

Unusual Costs of Purchasing a House

The costs of purchasing a house don’t end with the down payment and monthly mortgage obligations. There are numerous other recurring expenses. Home owner’s institutions charge monthly or yearly fees, and they may be prohibitively expensive. Let’s say that the Victorian fantasy house is located in a community with a $50 monthly homeowner’s association fee. Your monthly payments are now $1387.99. Homeowner’s insurance, yard maintenance prices, home utilities and warranties also add to the bill. Should you pay $100 a month in homeowner’s insurance, $50 for yard upkeep, $50 for a house warranty and $300 for utilities, you’re currently paying $1787.99 a month, and of course daily living expenses. Keep in mind property taxes as well as other county or city fees that might be due yearly. There are many things to keep in mind when considering buying a house. You have to think about the true cost of purchasing a house before signing the papers, however appealing the house may be. You don’t want to get stuck using a house that you can’t really afford.

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Colorful Quirkiness in an Irish Home

Joanne Kelly’s customers said from the beginning they wanted a unique and unique home — one which strayed far in the all-beige insides, leather sofas and bamboo furniture which has been common in their leafy Irish suburb. “They talked a lot about needing a home that felt creative and inspiring. Although their home blends nicely from the outside, it couldn’t be more different as soon as you walk through the door,” says Kelly.

But before getting to the interesting part of sourcing artwork, mixing old decor with fresh and swathing the walls with bold paint and wallpaper, Kelly faced the challenge of working around and retaining the existing kitchen cabinetry, bathroom tiles and flooring. “The style of the bathroom and kitchen tiles wouldn’t have been my first choice — nor my customers’,” Kelly says, “but we needed to follow their funding and work with what we needed.”

in a Glance
Who lives here: A professional couple in their early 30s
Location: County Kildare, Ireland
Size: 1,055 square feet

Believe Contemporary

Many people state their kitchen works the hardest for their family. However, Kelly’s customers max out their streamlined living room’s flexibility. The space hosts get-togethers with buddies and sitcom watching about the laptop, and even offers his-and-hers reading nooks by each one of the two windows (one is pictured here with all the green arm chair and ottoman).

Believe Contemporary

The stairs, typically located in the very front of a home, run through the center of this one.

Kelly’s customers also work in style, and they love her whimsical take on the traditional coatrack. “A panel of cast iron hooks just wouldn’t work for them. They really wanted me to expand the quirk factor down to the last detail,” she says.

Runner: TC Matthews Carpets; coatrack: Swedese

Believe Contemporary

Lime-green vinyl wallpaper and a rug using protruding circular dots add feel to the living room.

Sofa, armchair: Duff Tisdall; java table: Home Couture; wallpaper: Siam, Casamance; artwork: “Pink Polish,” by Jasper Goodall, A New Space; carpeting: Toppissimo, Nani Marquina

Believe Contemporary

“I also love my client was so open to using very powerful colors and bold art in their primary living space. This is a supercozy area in winter, with its open fireplace, and relaxing and cool in the summertime,” says Kelly.

The next reading corner sits across from the principal sofa in a coveted spot between the fireplace and the window.

Believe Contemporary

The designer placed the quiet star of the room — a midcentury teak sideboard — by a Scandinavian chair and ottoman. “It’s such a typical piece, because typically sideboards from this era are a little deeper in color, and they do not have metal legs, and that’s what attracted me to it,” says Kelly.

Sideboard: Wild Child Originals; armchair, ottoman: Swedese; side table: Kartell

Believe Contemporary

Kelly tweaked the Shaker-style kitchen cabinetry by substituting the large wooden knobs with chrome pieces. The knobs and the stainless steel appliances — as well as the lime-green kitchen carpet which reproduces the retro color of the living room — lend the country-style kitchen a more contemporary look.

Dimensions: artificial stone

More about choosing hardware for Shaker cabinets

Believe Contemporary

Believe Contemporary

The home’s location, in a very suburban, family-oriented area of understated homes, pushed the designer and her customers to go bold with accent-wall colors and artwork. The customers’ very own collection of contemporary art and mixed media aided. This digital print of Charlie Chaplin using a graffiti background gives the room a lively edge.

Dining table chairs: Pedrali; tabletop: habit by Joanne Kelly; window remedies: Blind Style; pendant light: Secto Design; wall mounted paint: Pinot, Color Trend

Believe Contemporary

Kelly filled a lonely landing corner with an upcycled tallboy in the secondhand furniture store. A colleague stripped it down and refinished it, keeping the original handles and incorporating artwork she discovered on the internet to the drawers.

“It adds this element of surprise and makes turning that corner which much more fun,” says Kelly.

Believe Contemporary

Repeated prints of white feathers on a teal background take center stage from the master bedroom. “Normally clients need some convincing when it comes to really graphic, adventurous wallpaper. However, my customers were drawn to the wallpaper as soon as I revealed it to them,” says Kelly.

Wallpaper: Ferm Living; Chair: habit; sideboards: Ikea; pendant
light: Le Klint; carpeting: TC Matthews Carpets; bedside lamps: Business

Believe Contemporary

Personalized Ikea side tables using painted drawer fronts add cheerful citrine splashes.

Believe Contemporary

Believe Contemporary

A mirror doubles the impact of a bold wallpapered accent wall in the toilet, distracting in the older wall and floor tiles.

“My clients commute into town proper, so at the end of the day, they actually enjoy relaxing in the bathroom. I’m glad that we were able to revamp the room only with the addition of a wallpaper which adds a great deal of punch. And we remained within budget,” she says.

Wallpaper: Alice, Mini Moderns; wall paint: Chinese Slate, Color Trend; floor and wall tiles: existing

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Guest Groups: Gorgeous Flatware

When it comes to choosing flatware, a lot of people just settle. Yet there are a lot of gorgeous choices out there which can add fantastic detail to your dining room decor; they’re like the cherry on top of your tabletop. You will be amazed at how readily a straightforward flatware change can add vitality back to your own table settings. And do not be scared to decide on a pair that contrasts with your present decor. Select what you love, and utilize it together with joy! The dining table is where memories are created. — Darlene out of Fieldstone Hill Design


Sushi Queen Flatware – $24

I believe this flatware is purely elegant. I really like the way the resin recalls the effect of bone china. It is stunning.

Barneys New York

Ricci Silversmiths Bamboo d’Oro Flatware – $125

This golden bamboo flatware set is straightforward, stunning and haute layout. I would really like to have these in my table. They’d dress up any tablescape and take your meal to a classier degree.


Night Collection Flatware – $105

This is one of the most gorgeous collections of cutlery I’ve ever seen. The lines are so delicate, and I am madly in love with the gold. It is so classy. This is not your average dining table setting.

Cost Plus World Market

Hammered Flatware Collection – $15.96

This hammered flatware collection is affordable, but it provides so much art to the table. I really like the detailing in the grips. You’ll find a huge bang for your buck when placing a gorgeous table.


Bronze Age Flatware – $36

How fun are those bronze babies? These skinny utensils have an edgy shape which gets my attention.


Nevin Flatware – $36

Pretty, pretty, pretty! The rich caramel colour in the bone handles is my favourite aspect of this flatware. It generates eye-catching contrast with the stainless steel.

West Elm

Gold Flatware 5-Piece Place Setting – $29

I am mad for metals that are mixed. Insert the slender, classic lines of those utensils — and the wonderful price — and I am sold.

Design Within Reach

Almoco Flatware, Black – $50

I believe it is so creative how this gorgeous, unique, matte black cutlery is a stunning variation on the ordinary utensil. Have you ever considered black for your cutlery?

Ginkgo International Ltd..

Ginkgo President Stainless Flatware – $20

If I ever need a purely straightforward and contemporary set of cutlery, this could be my choice. These utensils will keep your table crisp and clean. The knives are definitely my favourite bits.


Rediscovered Flatware – $36

It is about time to have the ability to get that classic, combined look without spending years scouring flea markets. This Rediscovered flatware is exceptional and can be silver-plated quality.


Goa Cutlery – $63

These are sleek and fun. I believe they are an ideal twist to improve your conventional table setting to liven this up.


Bronze Flatware – EUR 48

I love this bronze flatware created by the Italian design firm Skitsch. The bronze is such a warm change of pace and would add a spark to any table setting.

Joanne Hudson Basics

Bamboo Studio Bamboo Flatware Set – $3.99

Rethink your thought of cutlery, and also make way for all these bamboo utensils. I find them to be so tasteful. Additionally, I love you could rewash them but the price is equal to disposable cutlery.

Cath Kidston

24 Piece Cutlery Set – GBP 60

This flatware collection makes me want to have summer parties and eat fudgy sundaes. These are for everyone who wants to bring some colour and fun for their own dinner parties.

Studio William

Tilia Mirror Cutlery Set – GBP 33.33

The Brits know how to set a proper table two of each sort, and a tiny teaspoon. And, I have to be truthful, teeny-tiny spoons make me happy. There’s no greater way to eat ice cream.


Dismembered Flatware – $300

These utensils had a lousy day, but I believe they would only make me grin if they had been sitting on my table. Imagine the pleasure dinner parties which can be had together.


Danish Modern Flatware With Rosewood Handles – $350

How about adding some midcentury rosewood gorgeousness for your table? I really like the clean lines, and notably the brass detailing, in this antique support for 12.


Couverts Affam├ęs Flatware – EUR 49.50

This French cutlery set is completely unique and incredibly contemporary. If you’d love your home to be a mix of the creative, then this set would be ideal. I can easily imagine this set in a house that is full of stunning collections of art.


Say What?! Cutlery – $5

Even disposable cutlery could be stunning. These woodgrain bits arrive with three options of sayings stamped on the handle. My favourite is “Bon Appetit”!


Cutensils Cutlery Set – $33.99

I believe this set is ideal for adding fun, whimsy, colour and even conversation to your own dinner table. You will never set the same table! Now, how interesting is that?

More: Discover Your Dining Table Style

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Easy Green: Fire Up an Ecofriendly Barbecue

I can’t think of a far more enjoyable way to spend the afternoon than hanging out at the garden with a bunch of friends, cooking dinner on the grill. With garden barbecues often includes squander, and lots of it. From paper plates and cups to plastic utensils and food scraps, the normal garden grill-up can create an whole trash can full of waste. As grilling season kicks into high gear this summer, think about making some of these tiny changes to reduce the environmental impact of your next gathering.

Chicago Green Design Inc..

Swap your charcoal for propane or gas. Charcoal-fired grills give off substances that contribute to poor air quality, so try using a propane or gas-fueled model instead. I understand some die-hard charcoal fans will not need to give up this characteristic smoky taste, but gas grills can’t be beat in terms of convenience.

Grills Direct

Element Grill – $489.98

Update your small-space grill. If you thought your only option for grilling to a tiny terrace was among those tailgating-style charcoal grills, you haven’t seen this sleek number from Fuego. Lean enough to tuck in the tightest place, this propane-fueled grill is incredibly effective because of its size, handling everything from steaks to pizza with ease.


Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill Starter – $84.99

Step away from the lighter fluid. If you do use a charcoal grill, then there are a few simple changes you can make to “green” your own grill. First, prevent dousing your barbecue lighter fluid, which releases VOCs into the atmosphere; try using a starter like the one shown here instead. Second, look for “lump charcoal” rather than briquettes, which can contain coal dust and chemical fillers.


Mason Jar Mugs – $24

Add a little bit of old-fashioned charm. There’s something so appealing about drinking out of mason jars in the summer, and reusable eyeglasses are a far sounder choice for the surroundings compared to throwaway plastic cups. Try out this pair of mason jar cups or pops up a flat of the actual deal next time you’re at the supermarket — they are so reasonably priced, you can afford to stock up.

The Curiosity Shoppe

Portland Picnic Plates – $32

Use unbreakable plates. Having a pair of dedicated outdoor dishes is a worthwhile investment — utilize them at backyard barbecues, bring them along on picnics and take them camping too. I love this cheerful gingham print set in The Curiosity Shoppe.


Picnic Napkin – $18

Use actual napkins. It is not much trouble to throw a load of linens in the wash after a party, so why not use the real stuff instead of paper to your get-together? These linen “Eat” napkins from Terrain are a cute choice. If you’re the crafty type, then you can try a DIY version with a little bit of fabric paint and some alphabet stencils.

Farmhouse Wares

Galvanized Tin Caddy – $46.95

Take your flatware to proceed. Whether you dedicate a place to outdoor dining or transport your indoor flatware outside, a flatware holder like this rustic galvanized version from Farmhouse Wares is a excellent way to keep things clean.

Disposable Bamboo Utensil Set – $8.49

Go biodegradable. If you would like the ease of disposables but nevertheless possess a conscience, then choose biodegradable utensils like this bamboo flatware. Bonus: You can in fact reuse these several instances, to make them go somewhat further.


Maru by Wasara Dinnerware – $8

Take a step up from traditional paper. These plates are shrub totally free, and you will throw them into your compost bin when you’re finished. Reusable plates are greatest, but at a pinch these are a great option.

Joanne Hudson Basics

MYdrap Mustard Cotton Cocktail Napkin Rolls – $26

Reuse, recycle or compost these napkins. MYdrap makes unique reusable cotton napkins that arrive in a roster like paper towels. The difference is that they come in fun colors, and if they begin to wear out, you are able to recycle or compost them.

Clarke Appliance Showrooms

Green up your own menu. Hormone-free meat, grass-fed beef, sustainable fish and local organic produce are the top picks to get a green feast.

At West End

Recycled Recycling Bags – $30

Make recycling easy for guests. Set out clearly marked bins within an easy-to-access location before the party to make sure that all those cans and bottles make it into the proper place.


Exaco Compost Bin With Aerator – $519.99

Do not let those food scraps go to waste. If you compost, allow your guests know they can scape their dishes into a bin to get the compost rather than chucking food into the trash. Not Heard nonetheless? Think about trying it out this season; it will provide you a place to throw your kitchen and yard waste, and will reward you with “black gold” — nutrient-rich compost to your garden.

Urrutia Design

Involve your friends. Let your guests understand the motives behind the changes you’re making. You could inspire among your family or friends to begin producing green changes of their own!

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